Wednesday, November 13, 2013

After the Storm


Last week Supertyphoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban, Philippines flattening homes, taking lives and displacing millions. 

The death toll, which was first estimated to be 10,000 has now been dropped to approximately 2,500. While that means more lives were spared, it doesn’t lessen the number of people whose lives have been shattered or the fact that their lives continue to be threatened due to lack of food, water and shelter.

Photo courtesy of World Vision

Photo Courtesy of CNN

United Nations officials have said that more than 11 million people in the Philippines are in need of assistance and 800,000 have been displaced. While a disaster of this amount would in no doubt be atrocious on American soil, it does a lot more lasting damage in an undeveloped country.

Typhoon Haiyan did incredible destruction in the Philippines and now it is time for us to respond.  Not our government, not large corporations, but us as able citizens unaffected by the tragedy.

I’ve never been through a natural disaster but I do know that “aid” is not all that the Philippines need in order to recover. After such a storm, the 11 million people affected are going to need rescue, recovery and rehabilitation. As you consider giving to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, I ask that you look into these areas and decide where you feel most led to give.

Rescue

People need food, water and shelter to survive. The United Nations World Food Program and the Red Cross are two leading charities when it comes to disaster response. They have the resources to bring life saving food and medicine to people quickly. You can make a quick and easy $10 donation to the Philippines Red Cross by texting “RELIEF” to 864233. FEED Projects, which creates products that feed a certain number of people per product through the World Food Program, has created a FEED Philippines t-shirt. The shirt costs $33 and provides 10 emergency meals in the Philippines.

Photo of the Red Cross in the Philippines courtesy of ICRC.org

Recovery 

Once people are fed and clothed, many may need medical attention and emotional care. This is where many organizations contribute so there are numerous to choose from. I came across a blog post by Compassion International called “After Disaster Strikes: How to Choose a Charity to Donate to.” It gives great guidance on how to pick a charity that will be doing the most critical and lasting work. The author gives you three important thoughts to take away:

1.  Donating to a nonprofit that is already established means communication, aid and momentum can make an impact more quickly.
2.  Donating to a nonprofit that plans to stay with the people after the disaster means that important long-term development will happen as well.
3.  Whether you are going to donate $10 or $10,000, it’s important that each dollar is used in a balanced plan that considers both immediate need and long-term development.



Rehabilitation

Once people are on the path to recovery, there must be sustainable resources in place to help rebuild the country. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and jobs. In order to sustain life in the Philippines, schools, homes, farms, etc. all need to be rebuilt. Investing in a charity that constructs these buildings such as Habitat for Humanity, or creates economic opportunity will be the best contribution you can give to create lasting change. With thousands of families now living without income, human trafficking and inability to continue education is a huge risk. To protect the young generations that are most at risk, give to organizations focused on children and consider becoming a child sponsor.

Photo courtesy of Fox News
Miles and oceans away there are people in need of our help. We are blessed to be in a country that has the infrastructure to recover more easily from natural disasters. Typhoon Haiyan has done immense damage already. Let us not allow any more lives to be lost by stepping up and giving what we can. Every donation matters, large or small, and we have the responsibility to take care of our fellow man.

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