The most important events of November in Vietnam were not your standard DJ or live shows. They were fundraisers for The Philippines.
On Nov. 2, the winds that were to become Haiyan originated from an area of low pressure in the deep Pacific, several hundred kilometres south-southeast of the tiny island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. On Nov. 4 it was named, and on Nov. 5 it began a period of rapid intensification that would eventually make it the fourth most intense tropical typhoon ever observed.
On Nov. 7, Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. With one-minute sustained winds of 315km per hour, it was the strongest storm ever recorded over land. Over the next few hours, it would do irrevocable damage to Tacloban City — before the typhoon home to 220,000 people. Gusts would top out at 380km per hour. The damage was near total, with on-the-ground sources tossing around the word “apocalyptic”. As of Nov. 22, 5,200 have been reported dead in The Philippines, with 22,000 missing, 1.9 million left homeless and 600,000 displaced. In a region still reeling from the effects of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake only four weeks before, the devastation has been incalculable.
The actual damage has been estimated at US$1.36 billion (VND28,560 trillion), with a likely loss of US$14 billion (VND294,000 trillion) to the Philippine economy. This isn’t damage that can be undone easily.
The Cleanup Crew
On Nov. 14, Filipino Ho Chi Minh City resident Mara Calibara and Frederikke Lindholm — Vietnam country manager for The Shelter Collection, which works to prevent child abuse and support its victims — teamed up to bring a fundraiser together in 36 hours at Broma, raising VND67.4 million for Streetlight, which operated youth homeless shelters in Tacloban until the typhoon hit. The shelter’s wards survived the storm by clinging to the roof of the orphanage. Now, nothing stands.
Ho Chi Minh City’s Q4 also put together a short-notice spectacular, pulling together nine bands and DJs for a Nov. 23 fundraiser which raised VND25 million for Gawad Kalinga, a relief and development organisation which has — as of Nov. 19 — packed and distributed 60,000 food packs of rice, canned goods and water. Each contains 20 to 30 meals and costs VND100,000. Their next target is distributing 200,000 food packs by the first week of December.
A pinned post on the Facebook expat page for Ho Chi Minh City by Phil Veinott has raised VND100 million for the Red Cross at the time of this writing.
In Hanoi, a secondhand market raised VND48.3 million, and a Nov. 30 yoga doubleheader at Zenith Yoga raised money to be donated through the Hanoi International Women’s Club and the Pinoy sa Hanoi group.
Also on Nov. 30, substituting for dOSe mastermind Edge Pamute’s birthday celebrations, dOSe and Blackmarket lined up seven Filipino musicans and artists at Ho Chi Minh City’s La Fenetre Soleil, and donated the results to UNICEF.
Along the way, a whole range of DJs and local bands, venues, well-known brands, local businesses and independent citizens have pitched in, playing for free, hosting events and donating prizes for raffles. It’s been a huge, community effort, the proceeds of which will help people rebuild their lives.
Your Good Deeds Recognised
Bo Nong Ethnic Cabaret — a sponsor of the Streetlight fundraiser at Broma — is a traditional Vietnamese cultural show, featuring live music, dancing, singing, mind reading, martial arts and first-class local cuisine alongside in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. For donations of VND150,000 or more made to any relief organisation after Dec. 1, Bo Nong will kick in a free VIP ticket to one of their December shows — valued at VND700,000. Quickly gaining attention as a must-see activity for residents and visitors alike, this offer is a chance to check off something on your Saigon bucket list, in support of a very good cause. — Ed Weinberg