, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

November 12, 2013

Local Filipino mission group collecting donations for typhoon victims

— The Medical Surgical Mission of Texas, a Beaumont-based non-profit that has provided relief to the Philippines for the past 15 years, is s spearheading emergency efforts to help the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

“The country is desperate for help. We always take care of them, but this time it is overwhelming,” Federico Arcala, mission member, said.

Arcala and his wife, Avila, are members of Port Arthur’s medical community. Both are among the 2,000 to 3,000 Filipinos living in the Southeast Texas area.

MSMT is a tax exempt non-profit volunteer organization established by leading Filipino physicians and medical professionals in the Southeast Texas area.

All donations to the organization will apply directly toward the purchase and delivery of goods and medicines to those affected areas.

Because of the magnitude of the devastation suffered since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Friday, Arcala said the need for monetary donations is urgent.

The official death toll from the disaster rose to 1,774 on Tuesday, though authorities have said they expect that to rise markedly. Authorities fear estimates of 10,000 dead are accurate and might be low, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

According to the AP, at least 9.7 million people in 41 Philippine provinces were affected by the disaster, with tens of thousands of houses wiped away, decomposing bodies under twisted rubble, and survivors pleading for food, water and medicine.

Worst hit was Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 people on Leyte island. The city bore the full force of the winds and the tsunami-like storm surges Friday. Most of the city is in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees. Malls, garages and shops have all been stripped of food and water by hungry residents.

The loss of life appears to be concentrated in Tacloban and surrounding areas, including a portion of Samar island that is separated from Leyte island by a strait.  It is possible that other devastated areas are so isolated they have not yet been reached, the AP reported.

“We need money right now to buy materials they will be needing, medicine, etc. and also probably money to purchase food later on,” Arcala said.

Arcala and his wife have relatives residing in the Philippines, but they were not impacted by the storm, he said.

Other members of the Port Arthur-Beaumont area Filipino community have relatives that may have not fared so well.

“We have relatives in the Philippines, but fortunately they were not involved. There are other nurses and doctors here whose families were directly affected. There are no communications so we don’t know their status, we have not heard from them,” Arcala said.

The local mission group was in the city of Tacloban two years ago. Before the typhoon, Tacloban was a very beautiful city, Arcala said.

Monetary donations to the relief effort may be made directly through the group’s Web site by clicking on the “PayPal Donate” button on the lower right corner of the page. Checks made to MSMT with the memo Disaster Relief Fund will be accepted. Mail checks to MSMT (Medical Surgical Mission of Texas) P.O. Box 7959, Beaumont, Texas 77726-7959.

For more information, call any of the following contacts: Drs. Fred and Ave Arcala, 409-724-6116; Dr. Linda Punsalan, (409)549-4693; Dr. Gil and Shirley Agustin, 409-722-6748; Dr. Oscar Enriquez, 409-727-2808.


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