UMass Dartmouth focuses on typhoon in Philippines

Students at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth learned about the extensive recovery efforts in the Philippines after a devastating typhoon.

The lessons came from the school's chancellor, who was born and raised in the country. About 100 people attended a forum Tuesday.

"As a Filipino you realize the word kababayan is people, and everyone is family," said Remynelle Horton, a UMass Dartmouth student.

Horton's family in the Philippines is safe and sound. After the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, she knows others who aren't.

"People in my mother's organization - their families are not in a great space right now," Horton said.

It's why she wanted to be part of UMass-Dartmouth's teach-in forum about the Philippines.

The forum brought in speakers to discuss the geography and the history of the country. Participants also discussed the typhoon and why it was so damaging.

"I think it's important to highlight the expertise of our faculty that could help in understanding some of the aspects of the disaster," said Dr. Divina Grossman, UMass Dartmouth chancellor.

As a Filipino immigrant, Grossman was a big supporter of the day.

The chancellor used to be a nurse and understands that after this event, people will need medical supplies as well as every day goods.

She said she hopes this event moves some people to send support either through one of the campus's student organizations or through a national effort.

"I really wanted the idea of having people donate more money or spring/summer clothing. Because some of these people don't have homes anymore, and all they have is the clothes on their back. They need help," Horton said.

Typhoon Haiyan killed or has left missing more than 5,000 people and displaced an estimated 4 million people. The U.S. State Department said five Americans are among the dead.