How L.A. Is Helping Victims of the Philippine Typhoon

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Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 8:08 AM
click to enlarge UNICEF

L.A. is rallying this week to help millions affected by the record-setting forces of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center near Beverly Hills, about one in five workers is of Filipino descent, and the hospital has matched employees' fundraising to total more than $50,000 so far, a spokeswoman told us.

A UNICEF typhoon benefit is scheduled tonight in Century City, but not before the City Council has a moment of silence:

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, whose district includes Historic Filipinotown, will lead the body in a moment of silence for the victims of Haiyan at 10 a.m. today.

Philippine consul general Hellen Barber de la Vega is expected to be in attendance at City Hall's Council Chamber.

Officials so far say at least 3,600 people have died since the typhoon hit the Philippine islands Nov. 8. Sean Watson, founder of social and networking events hub 24Connect, told us:

Almost 4.6 million children have been affected by the typhoon, and these children desperately need shelter, clean water, medicine and nutrition.

He's helping to organize tonight's event in Century City, which hopes to raise $25,000 for UNICEF and the children of the islands.

It happens from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at SmithHouse, 10351 Santa Monica Blvd. Info.

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Since last week at Cedars-Sinai, employees have helped to raise $25,000 for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, an amount that was matched by the hospital, a spokeswoman told us.

Much of that money was coming through the medical center's chapel, where Father Lester Avestruz, who happens to be from the city hit hardest by Haiyan, Tacloban, holds sway.

"I'm from Tacloban," he said. "That's my diocese and home base."

He held an interfaith prayer service last Tuesday to a standing-room-only crowd, the father told us, and so he has scheduled regular Catholic masses since then at the request of some of those Filipino employees.

click to enlarge KENT PAGE/UNICEF
  • Kent Page/UNICEF

The next one is tomorrow at noon, and Avestruz told us the public is invited. After that, there will be another service Friday at noon. He said:

We have a prayer, we have a mass, we add a prayer for those affected by the typhoon, we sing a hymn, I Will Never Forget You. It's very touching. A lot of people are crying.

Donations during the services will go to the American Red Cross to aid the victims of the typhoon, Avestruz said.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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