Tom Soupart from Knokke-Heist asks for help
On 16 December, super typhoon Rai hit the surf paradise of Siargao in the Philippines. This hurricane, announced as category 1-2, suddenly grew into a devastating category 5. With wind speeds of more than 270 km/h, just about everything that could come loose was blown to pieces. Tom Soupart from Knokke-Heist was at the scene, managed to get to safety in time, but lived through some scary hours. The nightmare really began when the hurricane had fizzled out.
Tom Soupart (33) learned to surf at a young age and ended up at Surfers Paradise. As a working student he taught surfing and kiting for years, and with the start of Lakeside Paradise he also became passionate about wakeboarding. He took on the role of sports manager. Tom spends the winters in the Philippines, and more specifically on the island of Siargao. The location was recently named "the most beautiful island in Asia". It is a magnet for surfers, people who seek peace and beauty and digital nomads. Moreover, Tom shares his experience with the 'Siargao Wakepark', one of the most unique locations to practice the sport, the number one tourist attraction there.
Siargao was hit first. Tom was right in the middle of it and witnessed everything from the front row, as well as the eye of the storm when it suddenly became 'windless' again, after which all hell broke loose again.
"It was a hellish experience," says Tom. "We sat with close friends under a table in the kitchen of the wakepark. We could hear the storm wind ripping everything apart and causing immense destruction. Against our walls we heard everything that flew around. The rain was forced in through the cracks of doors and windows. The storm was followed by an apocalyptic experience that was like being in a zombie movie, except that there were no zombies... Only the concrete structures had survived. Everything built of wood was gone or damaged, as were all the roofs...Siargao wakepark was virtually destroyed..."
Currently, there is still no electricity, no mobile phone signal and no running water. This will continue for several months as it is a big job to repair all the structures that provide this. Through a first local appeal, Tom initially collected donations to provide food and drinkable water for the local population. They are the most affected, as most have no home or shelter. The next step is to provide clean water and electricity. For this, Tom is looking for donations to buy a generator. This will cost around €10,000 and can run the water filtration station so that everyone will have drinkable water available again. In a later phase, this generator can also be used to start up the wakeboard park again. Then comes the recovery of tourism and the jobs associated with it.
To support all this, you can transfer an amount of your choice to the account number
BE24001347101038 (Tom Soupart). Every little helps, companies can also obtain an invoice from the wakeboard park if necessary. (Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tom keeps us informed and tries to update his social media as much as possible. It is searching for mobile signal in other places on the island. You can follow him via @tomsoupart and @siargaowakepark on instagram and facebook.