During this Thanksgiving week, many of us are taking the time to reflect on aspects of our life for which we are thankful. Far away, in the South Pacific, millions of Filipinos are struggling to rebuild their lives after losing their homes, businesses, and loved ones at the hands of Haiyan, the super typhoon that recently devastated the country. If you are thankful to have a warm roof over your head and nourishing food on the table, consider demonstrating your appreciation by giving to those who are in dire need. With so many organizations helping with the relief effort, you can choose a cause that is dear to you.
At the time that it made landfall in the Central Philippines on November 7, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan had created winds that were gusting at 195 miles per hour. This makes the storm the strongest of its kind to make contact with land, a fact that the damage and destruction the storm left behind in its wake would cause few people to question.
In the two weeks that have passed since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the rural center of the Philippines, the world has united in support of the dozen million or so persons who were directly affected by the storm. Governments, non-governmental agencies, and philanthropists have raised hundreds of millions of dollars toward the relief effort. American naval vessels stationed in the South Pacific have brought heaps of supplies to Leyte and Samar Island, the two areas that were hit hardest by the storm. The Philippines regional neighbors have also helped out, by donating heaps of rice and other foodstuffs.
In spite of this flow of goodwill, further assistance is still needed. At the time this was drafted, the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan was up over 5,200. More than 1,000 were still missing, and upwards of 10,000 suffering from serious injuries. The very infrastructure that is needed for supplies to quickly reach those in need was greatly compromised by the storm, and hundreds of thousands who lost their homes still do not have access to clean drinking water, shelter, and basic medical supplies. The people of the Philippines have demonstrated their resilience, but the gap between the help that has been administered and that which is needed is large enough to constitute a humanitarian crisis.
How You Can Help
Led by the American and Filipino chapters, the global Red Cross is delivering relief supplies and helping hundreds of thousands of Filipinos without homes relocate to safer shelter. The organization is accepting donations online and via mail.
Doctors Without Borders
Just two days after Typhoon Haiyan struck, medical professionals from this highly esteemed organization were already on the ground in Cebu, the province that was hardest hit. Doctors Without Borders has already sent more than 200 tons’ worth of hygiene kits, vaccines, tens, and other necessary supplies. The organization’s volunteers are also building a new medical facility in Tanauan. Donations can be made online, and nearly 90% of the money donated goes directly to the organization’s program services.
World Vision, which already had volunteers in the island province of Bohol helping to restore the region after an earthquake that hit last month, was especially quick to mobilize. The international humanitarian aid organization has already assisted more than 25,000 impoverished Filipinos, but is requesting more aid so that it can meet its goal of providing emergency assistance to 400,000 or more. In addition to offering donations, ways to help World Vision help others include volunteering at an office, funding micro loans, or sponsoring a child.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC)
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is coordinating and delivering safe water and promoting clean hygiene and sanitation practices. The humanitarian organization has a special interest in helping to prevent the outbreak of diseases related to poor hygiene and sanitary practices, such as cholera and dysentery. Donations to the organization’s Typhoon Haiyan relief effort can be made at Rescue.org.
Save the Children
Save the Children’s Typhoon Haiyan relief effort is aimed at assisting the more than 5 million children affected by the storm, nearly half a million of which are under two years old. Doctors and aid workers sponsored by the organization have set up six mobile clinics and are distributing 100 tons of aid supplies throughout the Central Philippines. Donations can be made online or by phone.
United Nation’s International Children’s Relief Fund (UNICEF)
With loads of staff already in the Philippines at the time that Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, UNICEF is another organization that was quick to act, repositioning staff to provide emergency aid where it is most needed. Donating 0 to this UNICEF’s Typhoon Haiyan relief fund is as easy as sending a text with the word “RELIEF” to 864233. Donations received go toward vaccinations and basic care for destitute children and their parents.
Donating to an organization that is participating in the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort is a generous gesture, but thoughts, prayers, and awareness are all helpful in their own ways as well.