I can be a nervous person, and in recent years, this seems to manifest most when it comes to the weather. I’ve grown up in Florida, so I’ve seen my fair share of lightning strikes and hurricanes, but it never really bothered me when I was young. Now, I get alerts sent to my phone—not just for my area, but also for the cities where my close friends and family live—and I am always on top of the updates and preparedness measures for storms happening around the world. I have a hard time focusing or resting if bad weather is expected, and any time there is a hint of a local tornado watch, I am ready to set up camp in the most central room of our apartment.
Last week, as the media began to report on the development of Typhoon Haiyan, it became the subject of my nervous energy. I read up on what they were already calling “the strongest storm to ever make landfall.” I knew the Philippines, Haiyan’s destination, was already at a disadvantage after an earthquake rattled the nation just last month, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. I knew when Haiyan was expected to arrive, and I knew it would be a while before there was any official word on the effects of its impact. I knew all that anybody could—but there was so much nobody could have known at that point.
The first night that numbers were released from the Philippines, the tentative death toll was at 100. I went to bed, aching for the people there. By the time I woke up, that number had already risen to 1,000. By now, we’ve all heard that authorities in the Philippines estimate Haiyan could have claimed as many as 10,000 lives. The extent of the physical devastation probably won’t be known for some time, though the images of flattened towns suggest it is serious. The debris and damage have hindered aid and relief efforts; water, food and medicine are in short supply; mental health is a growing concern, as people try to reconnect with loved ones, process loss, and provide for themselves; teams struggle to gather and identify the fallen. Even since Haiyan hit, a minor earthquake and a tropical storm have also struck the region. It’s chaotic, it’s desperate, it’s nothing short of a tragedy—and this is only the beginning.
When I consider how I am unnerved by storms like Haiyan, I know it’s so trivial, so minute, compared to how overwhelmed and frightened the Filipino people must feel now as they try to move forward. Like many of their global neighbors, I wish there was something more I could do. Based on the difficulty relief efforts have had thus far, I wish there was something more anybody could do.
TWLOHA has gotten tweets and messages from some of you, asking us to remember the Philippines, to pray for them, to help them. We know it will be a long road of recovery and reconstruction ahead, but there are many qualified groups working tirelessly to help them get started. The greatest needs right now are the basic ones—food, water, medicine, shelter—and we wanted to point you to a few places where you can donate and help provide such things for the Filipino people.
To our friends in the Philippines: Please know you are not alone. The world is watching, waiting, and mourning with you. Even in the uncertainty and pain, may you lean on each other, may you keep fighting, and may you find a hope and community that is more powerful than any loss.
How to Help:
Red Cross: Donate here
UN World Food Programme: Donate here or text:
USA: Text AID to 27722 to donate $10
UK: Text AID to 70303 to donate £3
Canada: Text RELIEF to 45678 to donate $5
UNICEF: Donate here or text RELIEF to 864233 to give $10.
Google Person Finder: If you are looking for someone or have information about a missing individual, start here.
#RescuePH: To request rescue, use this resource.
Do you have suggestions for other ways to support the Philippines? Feel free to leave a comment below.