Sunday, December 1, 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan

While the headlines out of the Philippines may have dwindled, the damage of Typhoon Haiyan is still very real.  Six days after the storm hit, my school had the regional director of Childfund (non-profit that has helped over 408,000 children in the Philippines over the past 40 years) do a short presentation for our staff. His children attend my school. After hearing how three of our Filipino staff’s families were spared their lives and not much else; he wanted to educate us on what was happening on the ground. The facts I state in this post are from his presentation.

The logistics of getting help to the people who need it are a nightmare. The Philippines are made up of 7000 islands, 2000 of those inhabited. 36 provinces were devastated by the category 5 storm. It was possibly the worse storm ever recorded. They are not prepared with earth moving equipment to clear roads and getting the right equipment in is expensive, plus it takes time.  I hadn't thought of this before, but the water and wind damaged not only the infrastructure above ground- schools, homes, health faculties- it also ruined all infrastructure below ground fuel reservoirs, sewer pipes, water pipes, and  the electrical system

My school has many Filipinos on staff. Three related staff has been praying for their families ever since Haiyan, locally called Yolanda, hit their homes. My school immediately formed a committee to help raise funds to give them to send to their families. So far between donations, a bake sale, and causal for a cause Fridays we've raised over 100,000 Thai Baht, around $3,300 USD.

My co-worker Noren works in the classroom right next to me and has been willing to share with me how her family is doing.  All the photos on this post came from her sister in the past two weeks. They have been able to get money to the Philippines and it has been used to buy rice, propane for cooking, water, and other canned goods. Her family believes they have found a good resource for obtaining the basic necessities. However, they are concerned about a young baby in the family. At the time of storm, there were over 200,000 pregnant woman and 135,000 lactating women. Young children have a high risk of malnutrition during a time of crisis. The community in which my co-workers family lives have come together to live in structures still standing. Everyone is taking care of everyone.

My school’s committee leading the fundraising efforts is made up of parents and teachers. Their plan is to set up appeal efforts throughout the next two terms and into the next school year. Noren and her family plan on using the money to help rebuild their community and take care of themselves. As she told me, “They can only trust that God will provide.”

If you are out and about Christmas shopping and don’t quite know what to get someone, consider giving a gift towards helping Noren and her family in the Philippines.  If you’re interested, please send me an email, and I can give you the details. Otherwise, please continue to keep the Philippines and their people in your prayers. 

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