As I have no doubt you have heard, my home country, the Philippines, was devastated by super typhoon Haiyan. The hardest hit was the eastern Visayas region, with the city of Tacloban in the Leyte province bearing the greatest devastation. Preparations were made as best as possible in light of the information received, so the areas hit were evacuated in advance and relief supplies were put on standby to be flown in when the typhoon is over. But still, how well prepared could anyone ever be for a phenomenon and disaster of this scale?
The Philippine Red Cross estimated fatalities on Saturday to be about 1,200 in Tacloban and about 200 in Samar. On early Sunday morning, a senior police officer, regional police chief Elmer Soria, in Tacloban declared that this figure may rise up to 10,000. It is admittedly a big difference in estimates as to be expected with power and communications being down in addition to the difficulty of accessing the battered areas. At this point, the priority is giving aid to those who gravely need it.
I am happy and grateful to share that other countries have stepped up and pledged aid. As of this writing, Australia has pledged a $10M humanitarian package, the UK has pledged £6M in aid in addition to £600,000 worth of supplies and air transportation, Ottawa, Canada pledged to match every dollar donated by Canadians from Nov. 9 to Dec. in addition to the $5M in disaster relief the government announced on Saturday, and the US has deployed military support for search and rescue operations as well as emergency supplies transport.
Now, for us who do not have millions to give and would like to help, organizations to donate to are listed here and here. I personally think it’s best to donate to the local organizations at the grass roots level since they are in direct contact with the victims. But, please donate to whichever organization you are comfortable with. Any amount counts!