A FORMER East Lancashire builder ‘lost everything’ and was left living in a makeshift tent after his luxury home was devastated by an earthquake in the Philippines.
David Carter, who has lived in Clitheroe, Great Harwood, Burnley and Nelson, was near the centre of a 7.2 tremor which rocked the coastal town of Loon in Bahol island, killing almost 200 people.
The 69-year-old, his wife and four adopted children, managed to escape unscathed when the quake happened on the island, 28 miles west of Loon in the town of Catigbian.
However their five-bedroom home, which Mr Carter built himself, was rendered unliveable and all possessions were lost, aside from his car which was pulled from the rubble by neighbours.
Now, Mr Carter’s sister Heather Allison has urged East Lancashire’s Filipino community to ‘dig deep’ to help the 3.5million people affected by the tragedy.
She said: “He said that everyone escaped unharmed which is a relief but he has lost everything and I just feel devastated.”
Mr Carter moved to the country around 20 years ago to marry his fourth wife and one-time penpal Lydia where they adopted four Filipino children.
Mr Carter, who also has children in the UK, said his new family had been forced to sleep under plastic sheets hung from trees at the front of their house since the disaster, which happened at 8am on October 15.
Clitheroe resident Mrs Allison said her brother, who once managed pubs in Burnley, told her that aid had been slow to get through due to the destruction of bridges on the Tagbilaran North Road which connects it with the nearest towns.
She said his water and rice supplies had become ‘worryingly low’.
The quake is thought to be the biggest on the island since 1602 and deadliest in 23 years.
Mrs Allison, of Riverside, said: “I had no idea about the earthquake until David rang to tell me that he was okay.
“I’m even more worried now because he said that his family were running out of water and rice when I last spoke to him yesterday.
“As the bridges have been destroyed the only way out of the town is through the mountains but he needs a 4x4 to get supplies for the community.
“The people there are in desperate need of aid and I just feel so helpless.
“I told David that I would gladly pay for his family to fly to England but he doesn’t want to leave the community and his many dogs and cats that he has taken in since moving there.
“He told me that the community is working well together and that some aid is now coming in but it isn’t coming quick enough.
“I want to urge everyone, especially Filipinos living in East Lancashire, to donate as much money as they can so that more relief can be brought to the area.”
According to the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, around 183 people are known to have died in the tragedy, whilst another 583 were injured and 370,000 have been forced from their homes including 80 per cent of Loon residents.
A further 3.5 million people have been affected in some way across six provinces including on neighbouring island Cebu.
Meanwhile, one of the 24 Filipino nurses who work at Burnley General Hospital, Anely Cubillan, said she hoped to set up a fundraising group amongst the ex-pat hospital workers.
Anely, who is one of 368 Filipinos living in Burnley, according to the latest census, said: “I have a friend who lives in the area so have already sent some money to her but will organise a meeting with the nurses so we can decide how to give more help.”
Father Michael Waters, from St John’s Catholic Parish Church in Burnley, who also has around 40 Filipino families in his parish said: “I’m very sorry to hear about the earthquake.
“I’m not yet aware that any families in our church have relatives who have been affected but I would urge all members along with other residents to donate money to relief efforts.”