How to Help SuperTyphoon Haiyan Victims if You Are a Regular Person Like Me

November 13, 2013

 These days, I’ve been glued on local TV, CNN or BBC getting as much information about SuperTyphoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) and the havoc it brought to my country, the Philippines. Being typhoon-stricken is not new to me and my family. You see, I was born and raised in Virac in Catanduanes. Catanduanes is a small island off the Pacific Ocean where most typhoons brew so it is usually visited by this catastrophe every now and then.

 When my mom was still alive, she would always talk about how typhoons  in the 70’s were strong and how fearful she was. My mom that time was only in her early twenties, just got out of college and was looking forward to her new job as a teacher in Virac. Her mother was originally from Virac but moved to Manila where my mom was born and raised later on. Because my mom wanted to get a job right away, she begged my grandmother to allow her to teach in my grandmother’s hometown. Who would have guessed that some years later, she’ll eventually meet my dad and settled in Catanduanes?

My mother talked about how these strong typhoons destroyed crops, infrastructures and killed  a number of people.  And how people would start from scratch slowly build their homes after each storm, grow crops again and hope that the memories of these natural occurrences will be forgotten.

While growing up, I had experienced the worst of this natural calamity and became fully aware of how much wrath these typhoons can bring. In 1995, there was Rosing (now called Typhoon Angela), a very powerful Category 5 typhoon with 180 mph (290 km/h) sustained winds.  Fear I must say was an understatement, I was praying the whole evening as we went to bed after a supper of noodles and rice which my mom cooked. The wind hustled each time Rosing showed her strengths. I was too afraid we’d lose our roofs and that would mean we might lose everything.  My dad who was working as a chief at our local police station was not home, had to walk for hours just to get home to see how we were. I guess our family was just so lucky that we didn’t lose our roofs, but our neighbors were not as lucky as we were. In the middle of the night, they had to curl themselves up into a tiny space in their bathroom after the winds came and left with their roofs.

In the morning, only then I understood how it was to walk like a zombie, numb from the fear, rummaging from what we can save from what was destroyed; it was the lowest kind of feeling one can ever get.

The recent super typhoon Haiyan was said to be the worst and strongest typhoon in the Philippines history and probably in the world. It pains me to see how Tacloban, a beautiful coastal city can be desert of fallen debris, corpse and everything in between. Cebu, Samar and Leyte were not also spared, these once quiet cities/ province are now asking for mercy and help. I was glued on TV not realizing that I was already crying as if I felt their pain, walked through the same roads and experienced being famished.

Now you ask, how can a regular person like me help? Aside from praying for these victims, they need immediate relief from the hunger, thirst and emotional  needs. I know a lot of people and  organizations have been tapped to help but to those who don’t know where to start, you can start by helping one person first then gradually increase its number as you go along. That person can be a colleague, a friend or simply an acquaintance—it doesn’t really matter.

If you don’t know what to give, or have no means to share, perhaps the best thing you can ever give is your time. ABS CBN accepts volunteers in packing relief operations  in their Sagip Kapamilya HQ at #13 Examiner St., QC. Tel# (02)4114995 |Shifts: 8am-2pm and 2pm-8pm.

For more information on how to help, here’s an article fromSpin. And if that’s not enough, if you are open to share your heart in volunteerism, here’s an article from Yahoo to jumpstart your next course of action

I hope that we can touch the bruised and weary hearts of the victims of SuperTyphoon Yolanda in our small way.  Remember that the more love we give, the more love we will receive.


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