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Kamp recalls years spent in the Philippines

MP Randy Kamp - File photo
MP Randy Kamp
— image credit: File photo

The devastation in the Philippines in the aftermath of a colossal typhoon has everyone thinking about the island nation, including Member of Parliament for Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge–Mission Randy Kamp.

“Ruth and I would like to extend our sincerest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones as a result of Typhoon Haiyan," said Kamp. "Having spent seven years living in the Philippines, Ruth and I have a very personal connection to the people there and our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this disaster. I encourage all Canadians to offer their support during this tragic time.”

Typhoon Haiyan hit central Philippines on Nov. 8 with wind speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. It destroyed at least 80,000 homes and displaced over 600,000 people. The death toll has reached 4,460.

Kamp resided in the Philippines for seven years between 1985 to 1992. He worked with a faith-based linguistic organization that preserved local languages, spending his time on linguistic analyses, translating books, and sometimes teaching people to read.

"The people are very hospitable, the nicest people you'll ever meet," he said. "You can show up late at night – some of what I did was a sociolinguistic survey, so we would be traveling through the mountains, show up at a tiny village late in the evening looking for a place to stay, and we always received the greatest hospitality."

Kamp travelled extensively during his time in the country and is familiar with the area that has been hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

The country's current struggle, Kamp said, brings to mind a frequent Filipino expression: bahala na. It literally means, "leave it up to God," but could also be translated as, "what will be, will be."

"It just seems that where they're situated in the world, whether it's a typhoid or an earthquake or a volcano, there are so many natural disasters," said Kamp. "No matter how seriously impacted people are, they have the ability to rebuild and move on with their lives. I hope that in the midst of this tragedy, they're able to do that as well."

Kamp said he is personally reaching out to Filiipino friends in his constituency.

His Maple Ridge office has set up a book of condolences, which Kamp will deliver to the Philippine ambassador to Canada, Leslie Gatan, in Ottawa.

"We're encouraging constituents to give to World Vision, the Red Cross, or another reputable charity that's doing work in the Philippines to help respond to this disaster," said Kamp.

The federal government has committed to matching donations by Canadians, until Dec. 8, 2013. That is in addition to the up to $5 million in aid announced last week.

The provincial government, on its part, promised to match donations that B.C. residents make to the Canadian Red Cross, up to $300,000. These donations can me made at B.C. Liquor stores until Dec. 9, 2013, or directly through the Canadian Red Cross.

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