October 21 2014 Latest news:
By Liz Coates
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Exhausted by the heat and the vast scale of the rebuild under way in the typhoon-hit Philippines, Andi Kett is working round the clock in a bid to make a difference.
Five months after the storm struck, the 50-year-old from Hickling is among a band of volunteers working on the front line on the island of Panay.
Many still need a roof over their heads and food, contamination from an oil spill fuelling ill-health and shortages.
Andi’s wife Bex, 39, said one of the most upsetting things was that aid pledged did not seem to be getting through to the people on the ground who desperately needed money to buy even the barest essentials.
For Mr Kett being able to help in the aftermath was a long-held ambition.
Denied the chance to join charity efforts after the Boxing Day tsunami that hit South East Asia because of a hand injury he was determined nothing would stop him this time, his wife said.
“It has been life changing for him,” she said.
“The one thing he always talks about is the Filipino people. They would give you the shirt off their backs even though they have nothing.”
Having originally signed up with the Global Volunteer Network for nine weeks to help with the rebuilding of schools Mr Kett soon discovered there was much more he could do.
Aside from the main focus he and another volunteer raised enough money for a one-off clinic that saw over 700 people in a single day, many of them suffering from respiratory illnesses to do with the oil spill and stress-related problems.
He has also been rasing money for shelter kits to help the homeless. Meanwhile he is helping to keep the hospital running after its well dried up, bringing in lorry-loads of water that volunteers are paying for out of their own pockets at £35 a time.
There is not even enough money for clean sheets.
Although he has no professional training eight years living on a small holding in France meant resourceful Mr Kett was the perfect personality for such an endeavour.
Mrs Kett also hailed the support of colleagues and customers at the Pleasure Boat Inn where she works in Hickling whose fundraising efforts and donations helped Mr Kett to realise his dream.
She added the backing of both sets of parents and churches had been invaluable.
Having taken on so much more at his own expense Mrs Kett is appealing to the generosity of local people.
She said: “Just £5 will enable one member of this community to receive medical assistance, checks and food, whilst £30 will allow a family to receive the tools and materials necessary to build a home or shelter.”
“Yes, they are on the other side of the world, but they have truly touched Andi’s heart, and he is asking us for help.”
n To donate via Paypal use firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information contact Mrs Kett at the same address