ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Muslim humanitarian workers from such countries as Malaysia and Turkey said they shed tears on seeing the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Leyte and cebu.
“I felt so sad to see how disaster destroyed the lives of Filipino people in Leyte and Cebu,” Mohammad Safaruddin Jhinku, head of the training department of Global Peace Mission Malaysia, told the Inquirer upon their arrival here on Thursday. “Tears fell from my eyes.”
Jhinku and his group had joined a mission to Leyte, mounted by the Turkish welfare and solidarity association Deniz Feneri Dernegi, which was initially intended to find out if there were Muslim victims so they could get food aid.
They ended up giving food aid to many victims, regardless of creed, he said.
Rameer Tawasil of the Golden Crescent Consortium said the devastation was so immense and he was “grateful that Muslims around the world shared resources not just to help Muslim Filipinos but all the Filipino victims.”
Ali Karayilan and Suleyman Enes Kiliç of Deniz Feneri Dernegi told the Inquirer that their hearts bled when they saw people in some areas who have yet to receive assistance.
“No relief or help was extended until we came,” Kilic said.
Kiliç said the victims in Leyte and Cebu did not only need food but medicine and water as well.
Karayilan said they managed to locate some Muslim Filipinos affected by the disaster particularly in the areas of Bantayan and Bogo in Cebu City.
He said the Muslim typhoon victims sought refuge in mosques.
Karayilan admitted that the food they brought would last for at least 15 days but he said these would help the victims survive until food aid from other groups reach them.
Kiliç said some Muslim families had left Tacloban following the typhoon, which was why they met only nine of them.
Commissioner Edil Baddiri of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos said based on their record, there were 434 Muslim Filipino families in Leyte and 69 in Tacloban.
Meanwhile, Muslims in Basilan worked with their Christian brethrens to put up a relief mission to Leyte, Colonel Carlito Galvez of the Army’s 104thInfantry Brigade, said.
“The relief items were coursed through the military and we are sending it via C130 plane,” Galvez said, adding that Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad and Dr. Albukair Tarason of the local Ulama association were the main force behind the effort, in coordination with the Basilan provincial government.
He said he learned that Muslim communities in Europe, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Australia had sent goods.
“The intention is to assist those who are deeply in need regardless of culture,” he said.
Kiliç said they were visiting the disaster areas again in the coming days. “We will return to extend more help,” he said.