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For Filipino New Yorkers, Sending Aid to Flood-Ravaged Philippines Is a Struggle

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Filipino New Yorkers are struggling to send aid to family members who live in the Southeast Asian nation amid deadly floods that have shuttered banks and snarled mail services in the Philippine capital of Manila.

Dozens have died as a result of the torrential rains that continue to pound the nation after two weeks.  Fourteen days worth of rain fell in a 24-hour period on Monday alone.

Several cash-wiring services in Woodside, Queens, a neighborhood with many Filipino immigrants, say customers are waiting until the floods have subsided to send aid.

Freight service manager Cholito Arce, 58, said he is waiting until the floods recede before he wires money to his family in Manila. He said his customers will likely follow suit.

“They’ll just wait, probably, for a message. What do they need? Do they need some money to repair the house? Or somebody’s sick. That’s the time when they’ll be sending,” he said.

Arce said he communicates with his family by text and online.

“Hopefully everything is going to settle down,” Arce said. “We have a Filipino channel that we listen to everyday. It concerns us because most of our relatives are there.”

While most shops along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside had their televisions dialed to the Olympics, TVs in Filipino restaurants and postal delivery companies were tuned to news reports about the floods.

Jade Manuel, a resident of Woodside, said she sent money to her mother and aunts in Manila, but they were unable to access it because they’re trapped by floods on the second floor of their home.

“They are just inside the house,” she said. “Good thing they have canned goods for them to eat.”

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