Typhoon in the Philippines—Not Yesterday's News
If you've recently read in the news about a major typhoon hitting the Philippines, it was likely not an historical look back at last year's Typhoon Haiyan. It was probably about Typhoon Hagupit, a category-5 storm that hit the southern part of the country during the early days of December. It's not as if the Filipino people have recovered from last year's super typhoon; on the contrary, as the rebuilding of lives and communities continues from that storm in the central part of the country, thousands in the south are now without shelter, water, and other basic necessities.
Because of advanced warning, well-organized evacuation plans, and the weakening winds of the storm itself (it was category 3 by the time it reached major towns), the damage didn't end up being as severe as Haiyan. But casualties were sustained and thousands injured. Damages to homes, property, and agricultural fields were such that full recovery could take years.
Relief mobilization has been swift and effective. Gigi G. Endaya, manager of corporate communications & resource development at Operation Blessing, writes, "We started responding to Typhoon Ruby (or Hagupit) during the first week of December, as we went to the assigned place where it would make its landfall."
She reports that their team "has distributed emergency packs (food and other essential items) to the people in the communities of Leyte, Tacloban, Western Samar and Eastern Samar. We have also responded to the affected families in Batangas in Southern Luzon with feeding and medical checkups and treatment."
There are many organizations through which we can send donations to help victims of Hagupit. Some of the organizations are more "on the ground" than others; Operation Blessing is in the thick of it, directly providing relief goods to those left homeless, hungry, disoriented, and in despair. If you would like to give financial assistance to Operation Blessing, click here and designate your gift to "Disaster Response."
A native of the Philippines, Dr. Al Tizon is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church who has served churches in Philadelphia, PA, and Berkeley, CA, and in the 1990s worked for almost a decade as missionary and community organizer in the Philippines. He is the co-president of ESA.