The District of Sicamous is raising funds for victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines, and challenging other municipalities to do the same.
As of last Friday, more than 3,600 people were believed dead and 600,000 left homeless as a result of a typhoon that struck the Philippine islands. On Nov. 8, Typhoon Haiyan brought record-setting winds of more than 300 kilometres per hour, followed by a 16-foot devastating surge of water akin to a tsunami.
Sicamous Deputy Mayor Terry Rysz called the event, and the impact it has had on the Philippines, “absolutely horrendous,” and he recommended that council try to help out.
He suggested putting out a challenge to other municipalities (with a population of under 5,000) to come up with to $1,000 each to support the Canadian Red Cross’ Typhoon Haiyan fund (http://www.redcross.ca).
“This could be a way of showing people in other parts of the world how much we do care,” Rysz explained at last Wednesday’s council meeting. “It wouldn’t have to be a huge amount of money, but at the end of the day, if we had 200 municipalities giving $1,000, that would be $200,000 we could send off to the Philippines, and every dollar there could help a family for a week.”
District administrator Heidi Frank noted council, during budget discussions, had decided it would only support local initiatives, adding this is not district policy. She said the district could collect personal donations to meet Sicamous’ $1,000 commitment.
“I think it’s incredibly important, so I think we should put some program in place so the community is aware they can drop off donations here, and maybe even us, as a district, could find a way we could contribute to this fund as well,” said Rysz. “I think if we can raise $1,000 per community, then we can challenge other communities to meet or beat it.”
During question period, resident Pam Beech suggested the district also consider action against climate change as part of the challenge.
“I’m asking if council would consider taking a stance and put out a challenge to other municipalities on climate action, because that would speak very loudly,” said Beech. “This is not just about helping people who are victims of these disasters, but we also could be taking a stance to be proactive against climate conditions that make them worse.”
Beech was asked by Rysz to submit her suggestion to the district in writing. Donations can be made at the District office at 446 Main Street, Sicamous.