Tax deadline nears to help disaster victims
Updated On: Apr 12 2014 09:40:51 PM HST
A deadline is looming for those who want to help with relief efforts for the Philippines. Parts of that country are still struggling to recover from last year's deadly and destructive natural disaster -- Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Click here for Paul Drewes' report.
Five months ago, the most powerful typhoon ever recorded roared ashore in the Philippines. Winds over 200 miles an hour flattened homes, while storm surge swept away coastal villages.
The pain of this disaster was not only felt there but also in Hawaii.
"All my family we lost all our houses and all our belongings. For me, I lost my brother, my auntie and her kid. So it was really hard for me," said Aiea resident Maricris Baniqued.
More than 6000 people died in the disaster, millions more became homeless.
After this apocalyptic event, there was a huge outpouring of relief aid and financial help for survivors.
"We saw the average person giving what they can. We've seen banks, insurance companies, even restaurants donate,"
said Jon Matsuoka, the President of the Consuelo Foundation.
Millions of dollars from Hawaii were raised in relief aid, but that initial wave of financial assistance has now slowed to a tickle of support.
"People have short memories. Once it is off CNN people forget and then the next disaster happens," said Matsuoka.
To remind people of the disaster and boost giving again - a federal bill was passed which allows donations made through April 15th to count toward 2013 taxes.
"This is to encourage people to do it now. This is a tremendous effort on everybody's part. People in Hawaii have already contributed over $3 million to Haiyan relief, however the need continues; schools were demolished, buildings demolished, people are homeless," said U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.
Baniqued's home was destroyed. Her mother and father now struggle to rebuild their house and their lives.
"My house was just a block away from the water, and everything was flattened. Everytime I see a slideshow about the disaster, I can't stand looking at it because this is the place that I love and grew up," said Baniqued.
It has been five months since Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines, but the effects of this storm will be felt for years.
"There is so much need it is going to take decades to recover from this," said Matsuoka.
Donations by the April 15th deadline to the FilCom Center and marked "Aloha for Philippines" will mean even more -- as The Consuelo Foundation will match all donated money.
Those who have already filed taxes, can submit an amended return after making a donation and still be eligible for the tax benefit.
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