Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let's help #Yolanda #Haiyan

By now you've probably tuned into CNN or local news and seen the devastation of typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda. The images of destruction are heartbreaking and the death toll is projected to reach 10,000 or higher. My own family (in Cadiz, northern Negros Occidental) experienced the typhoon's wrath, but at the end of the day, memories and windows and roofs can be replaced. Compared with the loss of homes, entire livelihoods and loved ones, my relatives were lucky indeed. Also terrible? News of the survivors' frustrations with the slowness of relief. But I think we can put aside blame and fingerpointing for later. We should deal with that -- and it's important to deal with it, and learn from it, and stay angry -- but the important thing for now is to help out however we can. Prayers and tears are fine, but it's time for generosity and action. The Bible says--
"...and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:16-18
If you are going to donate in kind, might I suggest to send bottled water (and water and more water), medicine, band-aids, alcohol, blankets, baby diapers and sanitary napkins, and easy-to-eat foods (e.g. those that don't require cooking or a can opener)? These are badly needed on the ground now. LBC branches are now accepting donations in kind. For cash, I would also suggest making a donation to UNICEF since they are a reputable organization. The Red Cross is also accepting PayPal donations. Aside from official channels, my colleagues and I are also exploring donations through small-scale relilef operations targetting far-flung areas in Leyte, since news from the province says that relief operations are concentrated in the capital, Tacloban. Here's hoping we find a reputable contact.

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