One of the strongest hurricanes on record, Super Typhoon Haiyan, made landfall in the Philippines on November 8 at the peak of the storm’s power, causing devastating loss of life and widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure.
On behalf of Society members, ASCE President Randall “Randy” Over, P.E., F.ASCE, and Executive Director Patrick Natale, P.E., F.ASCE, FASAE, CAE, sent messages of condolence to the more than 200 members of the ASCE Philippine Section. They also contacted the leaders of the Section and of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, with whom ASCE maintains an Agreement of Cooperation, to express condolences and offer assistance.
In a November 15 reply, former ASCE International and Region 10 Director Potenciano Leoncio, Jr., P.E., M.ASCE, wrote that he had not yet heard reports of Section members directly affected by the disaster.
Current Philippine Section President Ernesto de Castro, Ph.D., M.ASCE, shared with President Over the Section’s response to the disaster, “We at ASCE Philippines have started a modest donation effort from our local members for the benefit of the typhoon victims.”
“We will be coordinating with the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers to effectively channel our contributions to the rehabilitation efforts in monetary terms and technical assistance,”de Castro wrote.
ASCE has encouraged members who wish to contribute to relief to make donations to the relief fund established by the American Red Cross, our longtime partner.
“The outpouring of assistance, help and more from the USA and other countries really makes a difference,” wrote ASCE Philippines Section member Noel Bersabe, P.E., F.ASCE.
Over said he was “overwhelmed by the response to my message from ASCE members in the Philippines.”
“I received replies from nearly 20% of the members that I contacted,” Over said. “I think that’s a heartening testament that, in spite of the magnitude of the destruction, the Filipino people are spirited and resilient and will recover from this disaster.”
As a powerful reminder of the vulnerability of our communities to natural disasters, a cluster of more than 80 tornadoes ripped through the American Midwest just ten days after Typhoon Haiyan, devastating many communities.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and property caused by these recent storms,” Over said. “The ASCE family is global, so our members are touched by events such as these wherever they may occur. It’s a humbling reminder to many of us of our role as civil engineers to build a safer and more resilient society.”