For Roderick Dela Cruz, the images of the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has brought to his home country of the Philippines is heart-wrenching. He is thankful his family resides in the northern part of the country, and was spared any major loss.
“The magnitude of [the typhoon], it’s really surprising,” said Dela Cruz, a senior engineer with Southern California Edison (SCE) who for the past four years has been working with the Philippines government on dam safety. “I was not expecting it — it’s mind-blowing.”
One of the largest catastrophes to ever hit the island, the typhoon has displaced over 900,000 people and affected more than 11.8 million people, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. There were a reported 4,460 deaths as of Nov. 14 as a result of the typhoon that had sustained wind speeds of up to 195 miles per hour.
The tragedy that began on Nov. 8 is sadly deja-vu for Dela Cruz. It was in the fall of 2009 after Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng that he traveled back to his home town to offer his assistance on dam safety.
This time, Dela Cruz sadly admits that his expertise would not be of assistance while the country struggles to recover from the Category 5 typhoon.
“My thoughts are sadly, I cannot do much right now,” he said. “It is in more of a recovery phase.”
To assist the people in the Philippines, SCE’s parent company Edison International will be kicking off a Typhoon Haiyan Disaster Relief Campaign on Nov. 15 in which the company will match each employee-donated dollar up to $25,000. The campaign will go through Feb. 28, 2014. There will also be a Facebook campaign through Nov. 21 for the community where Edison International will match “likes” up to $5,000.
Contributions from employees and customers will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, Gawad Kalinga USA and American National Red Cross, nonprofits equipped to help with the immediate needs of those devastated by the typhoon including providing food, water, shelter and medical care.
“We have a strong Filipino presence in our employee base who may have family and friends impacted by Typhoon Haiyan,” said Janet Clayton, senior vice president of Corporate Communications for Edison International and SCE. “It is in times like these that we are reminded that natural disasters can occur anytime and so we need to be prepared.”
All of the Edison International donations to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts come from shareholder dollars.
Antonio Manimbo, an SCE telecommunications engineer, was watching a Filipino news channel, when reports started coming in about “the biggest storm ever” to hit his homeland. When the video footage started pouring in, he immediately made calls to his family back home.
“Fortunately, my family lives in the north so they were not affected,” he said.
But sadly, some of his fellow members in FilBarkada, an SCE Filipino American employee resource group, have still been unable to reach family members back home.
“They still can’t get in touch with them,” said Manimbo, who also serves as president of FilBarkada.
Dela Cruz asks for prayers for his homeland, and if possible, to consider making a donation to the relief efforts.
“I would really appreciate it if Edison employees will be kind enough to extend prayers and any help they can give to the different organizations that are helping the Philippines,” he said. “They really need help."