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|Flickr Photo: Typhoon Haiyan by NASA|
When I first started hearing about a super typhoon a few days ago, I wasn't sure what to think, but hoped that the dire warnings were way out of proportion with reality. How could this be the worst storm ever? Ever!!?? What would that mean for the people there?
Then I heard news reports of 1,000 being killed. That was horrible, but I hoped that the numbers wouldn't be any more than that. Then yesterday I started reading that the number of people killed was more like 10,000. How do you even wrap your head around that? That's a city.
One of the latest stories says that those 10,000 people were from one city. The city of Tacloban has a population of about 200,000 and is the biggest city on Leyte Island. It's alleged that there were sustained winds of 195mph and wind gusts up to 235mph. The Philippines are made up of over 7,000 islands.
The more I read, the more devastating the situation seems to be. In fact, it is being described as worse than hell. There is urgent need for shelter, medical care and food right now. The most impacted are said to be children. With 1.7 million children living in the path of the typhoon according to UNICEF.
"UNICEF's first priorities are focused on life-saving interventions -- getting essential medicines, nutrition supplies, safe water and hygiene supplies to children and families."At times like this, the world pulls together. Google has set up a person finder, so people can search for their loved ones and provide information about others as well.
Doctors Without Borders, World Food Programme and many other organizations have arrived to assess the situation and start helping. Filipino Americans across the United States are organizing relief efforts for family and friends back home.
"'It’s so sad not knowing physically what to do, being far away from your loved ones and your country,' said Anne Naguit, campaign coordinator for the east coast branch of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), which has created a disaster relief fund for victims in the Philippines.
Naguit said one of the reasons NAFCON was founded was to bridge the geographical gap between Filipinos in the United States and those in their homeland. According to the 2010 Census, there are 3.4 million people of Filipino descent living in the United States, making them the second largest Asian American group in the nation."
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One of the reasons that I'm writing this post, especially off of my normal posting schedule, is that I've been working on a post about Filipino food recently. After hearing about the typhoon, my original post feels rather trivial and will wait for a bit. I can't help but think about the suffering of so many people.
Probably many of us are reading these news reports and wondering what we can do to help. This article gives a list of organizations with links on how to donate.
The World Food Programme's Twitter stream has some good information and you can donate to World Food Program USA.
Also, check out InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. –based international NGOs. They have information on their website about the situation and how members are preparing to help.
AARP Foundation is raising money to specifically help elderly victims. AARP and its affiliates are matching contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000.00
You can donate by text too. Here a few ways to do it.
If you're in the US, text AID to 27722 to donate $10 to WFP's emergency operation in the Philippines.
Text TYPHOON to 80888 to donate $10, and reply YES to confirm your donation to the Salvation Army.
Text RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10 to UNICEF.
The one thing that we can all do no matter how much money we have to spare, if we believe in this sort of thing, is to send some prayers and good wishes as well. I'm most definitely sending some.
*Updated 11/11/2013* Locally, the Filipino-American Association of Newport County in Rhode Island is accepting donations in cash or in kind.
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Diana, whose mom is from the Philippines, has a wonderful blog called The Chic Life. She is organizing an online auction and bake sale to raise money for the Philippines. She needs more bakers and people willing to support the auction buy buying the baked goods. So please let her know if you are interested!
The auction takes place on Thursday, November 21st, 2013 and will run for 24 hours. All money raised from the bake sale will be donated to the American Red Cross Typhoon Appeal Fund or the World Food Programme (choice of auction winner where to donate).
Diana is no stranger to online fundraising. Three years ago, she organized a bake sale for Haiti and raised close to $3,000.00. She gets things done! I was happy to participate then and I will be baking for this coming auction as well. I just have to decide what to bake.
*Updated 11/16/2013* A great post showing relief efforts in Chicago.
*Updated 11/23/2013* My blog post about the online auction, which is now closed.
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