Opinion: Donate to relief efforts in the Philippines

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The Philippines may have survived the terrifying ordeal of Typhoon Haiyan but it is of the utmost importance that we show our support. With the death toll feared to be in the range of nearly 2,500 civilians dead and thousands more injured and displaced. This storm was quite devastating, as it is unofficially being called the strongest typhoon to ever reach land with winds reaching in the range of somewhere between 145-195 mph. The stark truth of reality here is that there are going to be millions of innocent people that are in need of aid and help.

Cities like Tacloban and Guiuan have been absolutely decimated. Families and friends are forever torn apart and displaced. Food and water supplies at a prison in Tacloban are dwindling down to the point where a riot may happen. Men have seen their children taken away but there is still some hope in sight. Many citizens of the world have banded together to raise funds to help those in need. Sites like Reddit have raised funds in the past for Doctors Without Borders, who are currently hard at work assisting in the relief effort for the Philippines. “Medecins Sans Frontieres emergency teams are trying to reach the worst-affected parts of the country. Efforts to reach the city of Tacloban in Leyte Province are being complicated by roads that are blocked with debris, as well as strong winds and torrential rain that have led to many flights into the area being cancelled,” The Atlantic reported.

There are other charities and organizations that are giving aid as well, such as the Red Cross Association, UNICEF, The International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Fund, Save The Children, Mercy Corps, mGive Foundation, World Vision, American Jewish World Service, Helping Hand for Relief and Development, GlobalGiving, AmeriCares, and the UN World Food Programme. Google is also operating the Google person finder, which is helping create a network for people displaced during the storm.

Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Naderev Sano, a young Filipino diplomat gave a passionate and moving speech at the UN Climate talk and it gave way to someone who is profoundly human.  While it may be hard for many poverty stricken Americans and Bostonians alike to donate, we must remember how many were able to donate funds after the tragic Boston Marathon Bombing. We have to remember that a functioning society is only as strong as its weakest link. We have to give our time, money and love so that we can help the Philippines during this awful disaster.

As these supplies start to run dry, so does the hope for these people. “At least 29 nations or government groups have sent or pledged aid, according to the Filipino government. The aid includes $25 million from the United Nations, $4 million from the European Union, $16 million from Britain and $10 million from the United Arab Emirates, home to a large population of expatriate Filipino workers,” says CNN storm chasers. “The city [Tacloban] is a horrid landscape of smashed buildings and completely defoliated trees, with widespread looting and unclaimed bodies decaying in the open air. The typhoon moved fast and didn’t last long– only a few hours– but it struck the city with absolutely terrifying ferocity. At the height of the storm, as the wind rose to a scream, as windows exploded and as our solid-concrete downtown hotel trembled from the impact of flying debris, as pictures blew off the walls and as children became hysterical, a tremendous storm surge swept the entire downtown.” All that remained of the airport was the runway. Citizens lined up during the morning hoping for fresh water, food or a flight out.

Economically, it is quite the awful time to ask for support but any and all support could greatly help someone in need. Websites like  Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org), which evaluates the financial health and efficiency of more than 5,500 organizations, or GuideStar (www.guidestar.org), which gathers and disseminates information about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organizations are great places to look for further information.