CAIRO – Moved by images of destruction and desperation in Philippines deadliest natural disaster, world Muslims have rushed to offer help to survivors, urging donations to several humanitarian organizations.
“Islamic Relief has provided an immediate grant of £50,000 and launched an emergency appeal to provide shelter, food and other essentials as the people of the Philippines struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of what threatens to become the country’s worst natural disaster,” Islamic Relief said in the appeal launched on its website last Friday.
“The storm is one of the fiercest to make landfall since weather records began, and the UN reports that 4.3 million people in 36 provinces have been affected.
Philippines was hit by a powerful typhoon last Friday, leaving at least 2 million people in 41 provinces affected by the disaster and at least 23,000 houses damaged or destroyed.
Large areas along the coast had been transformed into twisted piles of debris, blocking roads and trapping decomposing bodies underneath.
Ships were tossed inland, cars and trucks swept out to sea and bridges and ports washed away.
Two officials said Sunday that Friday's typhoon may have killed 10,000 or more people, but with the slow pace of recovery, the official death toll remained well below that.
The Philippines military confirmed 942 dead, but shattered communications, transportation links and local governments suggest the final toll is days away.
The United Nations said officials in Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the storm on Friday, had reported one mass grave of 300-500 bodies.
“Many of those in the path of the storm are very poor, making it more likely that their homes will be damaged or destroyed and that they will need support to rebuild their lives,” Islamic Relief said in its appeal.
“You can help Islamic Relief in the aid effort by making a donation to our Philippines Typhoon Appeal.”
Philippines President Benigno Aquino III said he was considering declaring a state of emergency or martial law in Tacloban.
A state of emergency usually includes curfews, price and food supply controls, military or police checkpoints and increased security patrols.
As the ‘super typhoon’ battered communities in the Philippines, American Muslims were preparing to present help thousands of miles away.
Muslims make up nearly 8 percent of the total populace in the largely Catholic Philippines.
The mineral-rich southern region of Mindanao, Islam's birthplace in the Philippines, is home to 5 million Muslims.
Islam reached the Philippines in the 13th century, about 200 years before Christianity.
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