Hundreds of families across the Philippines in desperate need of help in the aftermath of Typhoon Rai will be receiving essential supplies thanks to a grant of £25,000 to Plan International from East Lancashire Freemasons and other Provinces.

Freemasonry, through the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), is responding with Plan International to support affected communities at this critical time. These funds will be used to provide hygiene kits, including soap, shampoo, towels, toothpaste and brushes to 851 families to help them keep clean and healthy in the aftermath of the devastating typhoon.

Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines on 16 December, making landfall on islands across the country, leaving almost 400 people dead and causing massive damage.

Typhoon Rai, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Odette, struck the Philippines on 16 December leaving a trail of destruction. The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has left survivors desperate need of urgent supplies of drinking water and food. 15-year-old Francine and her family experienced the full rage of the super typhoon which swept into their community in Southern Leyte at around 3pm and lasted for three hours. “In my entire life, this is my first time I have experienced such a strong typhoon that has totally damaged our home and other houses in the village, including our source of income – coconut farming and fishing,” shares Francine, who is a grade 9 student.

Winds of up to 120mph, heavy rain and storm surges battered the islands, leaving entire villages submerged in floodwater, trees uprooted from the ground and hundreds of thousands of people seeking shelter. Communication routes, power lines, bridges and roads were also either damaged or blocked with debris, making it difficult for emergency responders to get to the worst hit areas. 

Reports have described scenes of ‘complete carnage’, with homes, schools and community buildings throughout the region being levelled to the ground. People affected by the typhoon still require urgent relief and long-term support, such as housing and livelihood assistance.

The grant from the East Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said:

“We’re very grateful for this generous grant which will allow Plan International to provide essential support to thousands of people in the aftermath of this terribly destructive typhoon. It’s critical that we act now to help those most at risk” 

Robert Findlay, Provincial Grand Steward said:

“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Plan International with their relief effort in the Philippines. This is a desperate situation and ‘Plan’ and the other organisations, helping on the ground, need all the help and support we in the outside world can offer.”

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