I can’t adequately express the sadness and fury I feel upon seeing the trailing blaze of death and destruction that Super Storm Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) left after it struck my country, the Philippines, over the weekend.
I watched the news this morning, then again this evening, after school. News of the widespread destruction caused by the typhoon and the storm surge (equivalent to 3 bouts of tsunami waves, they said) it caused devastated me. Seeing all the houses toppled over by the wind and the rain, the trees, cars—it all breaks my heart.
The storm was so strong that it managed to topple some of the evacuation centers, resulting in more injuries and lost lives! All in all, Typhoon Yolanda managed to leave the Philippines with approximately 10,000 victims and casualties—this isn’t even taking into account all the equipment and places destroyed by the torrential rains and winds.
The worst part, however, is seeing Facebook friends posting about how they can’t contact their parents, family, and friends who are in the affected area, due to the communication lines being down. That is probably the worst part—not knowing. Some people in the affected area even resorted to writing their news on pieces of paper, which were later broadcasted by the news teams already on the scene. Of course, the relief one would feel upon knowing that their loved ones are safe is also enough to feel a little hope return to you, but imagine the catastrophic feeling of finding out that someone you know is dead BY SEEING IT ON A PIECE OF PAPER. I can’t even begin to think how I would feel and react upon hearing something like that. It must have been a million times worse for those sending the news :(
The news of rampages breaking out due to the deficiency of necessities such as food, water, medicine, and clothing is also saddening, but not much can be done since the road are impassable and the seas were stormy during the aftermath. The helicopters that were available were not sufficient in transporting all the goods that the people needed. Desperate residents have even resorted to looting and ambushing relief ops in the hopes of receiving something—anything—that can help them.
News of foreign countries and local, as well as international, celebrities donating and helping out warms my heart, but I can’t help but wonder how does one bounce back from something as big as this? I know, however, that the Filipino spirit is strong, and it is through helping each other that we can relieve even a little bit of the load on our affected fellow countrymen’s shoulders.
Here are some links from Time World on how you can help! You may also volunteer at relief centers near you!
UNICEF is supporting relief efforts by helping displaced families find access to shelter, clean water, food and vaccines and airlifting $1.3 million of additional supplies from its Copenhagen warehouse. You can donate online, call 1-800-367-5437 or text RELIEF to 864233.
The Philippine Red Cross is providing a tracking service for family members looking for missing people. The organization is accepting donations on its website (100 PHP = $2.30) and is looking for volunteers to help assemble relief packages at its headquarters in Manila.
The American Red Cross has also activated a family-tracking service for those looking for a missing family member in the Philippines. Donors can send a check to their local chapter, indicating “Philippines Typhoons and Floods” in the memo line.
The World Food Programme is mobilizing 40 metric tons of high-energy biscuits and additional relief supplies, but it is also accepting donations online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 or +39-06-65131 from outside the U.S.
CARE is accepting donations on its website and has deployed workers to the Philippines to assist with emergency relief. You can donate by phone at 1-800-521-2273 or +1-404-681-2252 for international calls.
Oxfam has emergency responders on the ground to assist with relief support. The organization is asking for contributions to its Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund online.
ChildFund International is distributing clean water, food, blankets and other emergency aid items. Staff members are also setting up child-centered spaces in evacuation centers to offer counseling and relief for children and their families. Donate online.
*Note: I know my writing is a bit incoherent and the flow is just terrible, but everything I wrote here was just from the tip of my tongue and it’s a bit like word vomit but I can’t help it—I just had to get it out there.