Two months after Thunder Bay's flood disaster, members of the Filipino community are worried for family and friends in the wake of massive rainfalls back in their homeland.

Almost two weeks of heavy rains have caused widespread flooding near Manila. More than 20 people have died and about 2,000,000 have been affected.

The president of the Thunder Bay Filipino-Canadian Association said the country has a long history of natural disasters.

"There was a terrible flood in ‘09 that just wiped out villages," Reuben Villagracia said.

"[This flood] approaches that scale of people who are displaced or people who [have] died."


Reuben Villagracia, the head of the Filipino-Canadian Association of Thunder Bay, said the group will raise funds for flood victims in the Philippines during the association's annual picnic that will be held this weekend. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

The association plans to start raising disaster relief money at its annual picnic in Thunder Bay this weekend.

Hits close to the heart

Thunder Bay is home to two cultural organizations that represent the Filipino community.

Over at the Filipino-Canadian Friendship Society, Mia Tranmer said family members back home currently are ok, but the flooding still hits close to the heart.

"Some people that we know [are] affected by it," she said. "They were not able to go get something to eat [or] find a place to sleep."

Villagracia said there is a parallel between the flood disaster that hit Thunder Bay at the end of May and the current flood crisis in the Philippines — both disasters forced a very different quality of life on residents.

He said it’s remarkable "how a city can be rocked. I think there [are] similarities there. It's just a much larger scale in the Philippines."