MANILA, Philippines – Japanese celebrity Kurara Chibana, 2006 Miss Universe 1st runner-up, was “shocked” when she saw the extent of the damage wrought by typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines.
Chibana, who is also a reporter for a Japanese television program, stayed in the country for 10 days to see for herself the devastations caused by Ondoy. She lamented that the situation “is still not so good” 3 months after the storm hit the country.
“I’ve done shoot for a Japanese TV program to report the situation in many places in the Philippines. I went to Zambales to see flood-affected areas. The situation is still not so good,” she said.
Chibana also mingled with and interviewed many storm victims who “told me what happened when the flood came.”
“I was shocked. In Japan, we have news 2 months ago about Ondoy. But many people didn’t forget about the news. It has been 3 months but the damage is still big. People are suffering. I can feel it because I’m in the Philippines talking to people,” she said.
She promised to help by raising awareness in Japan and urging her countrymen to help their Filipino neighbors who are in dire need of assistance. She also said that people should not lose hope despite the sufferings.
“There's something that I can do. And there’s something that we can do even though we live in Japan,” she said.
This was Chibana’s first visit to the Philippines. She came here upon the invitation of the United Nations-World Food Programme (WFP). She also works for the UN-WFP.
Chibana described the Philippines as a “beautiful country” and the Filipinos as “beautiful people” who never fail to smile.
In some of her visits in the affected areas, she was accompanied by KC Concepcion, the country's UN ambassador against hunger.
Concepcion said she is happy that Chibana paid the country a visit to express her sympathy to the victims.
“Proud ako na merong mga kaibigan ang mga Filipino sa ibang bansa na dumadating to support [us],” Concepcion.
Like Chibana, the Filipino actress echoed that a lot of flood victims are still suffering.
She assured that WFP continuously sends help to the victims, but she said they still need a lot of assistance to alleviate their plight.
“Sana meron pang sumama sa amin... either fellow ambassadors or celebrity partners, para marami pang maging aware sa Pilipinas. Si Kurara nakarating na siya sa Africa at kung saan saan. Naapektuhan siya sa nakita niya dito,” Concepcion said.
She is also calling on local celebrities to get involved in charity works.