It’s Friday afternoon and mum comes home and rushes to her computer, then she’s on the phone talking with my aunty in Manila, Philippines. She seems stressed so i casually ask her what’s up? She tells me about the Typhoon Haiyan – it’s hit the Philippines hard, and right in her home town of Isabel, Leyte.
Now being a mum of 4 i hardly every hear news unless it happens to be on the radio in the car -but i actually have to be listening to radio in the car and not Enid Blytons “Faraway Tree” or Rhal Dahl’s “The Fantastic Mr Fox”…or even “heads shoulders knees and toes”…. you get my drift!????
She’s a little stressed – and mum being a typical Filipino, she’s so laid back its not funny. But I could tell she was really worried. There is no news, no word regarding any of the family back in her home town. It made landfall at around 4.30am that morning. With the little information she could gather from my aunty in Manila (Philippines capital) The island of Leyte was in the direct path of the typhoon as it crossed over the Philippines – Isabel being her home town on the island. My grandma was evacuated from my grandparents house to my aunties which was newer, stronger and much higher up as they feared the worst especially the flooding the storm would bring with my grandparents house being so close to the coast. My grandfather chose to stay!! And that particular news was freaking mum right out.
Back in Manila my aunty is constantly trying to get through to somebody….anybody back home! but the network was out. All we could do was watch the internet for news and wait….wait for anything….
This natural disaster hits very close to home for me and my family. Being half filipino, and my mums home town of Isabel just happens to be on the island of Leyte – one of the islands that has been hardest hit by this super storm, a storm so strong that it may well go down as the strongest storm in recorded history that has made landfall.
This post has been brewing over the last few days as the devastating news of Typhoon Haiyan leaving a wake of destruction as it crossed over the Philippines early last friday morning Nov 8th at around 4.30am. There was warning for the people and so many evacuated to the designated evac centres/areas – but the storm they were to endure, there would literally be no where to hide from it fury….
I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents, aunties and uncles and cousins… i have probably visited the Philippines about 5-6 times throughout my life and one of my last trips i had the privileged of bringing Jake, Ethan & Amaya back in 2009 to meet their great-grandparents and the rest of my mums family who live there.
I guess i wanted to share these images firstly for me to remember fond memories of a place that is now splashed all over the media with heartbreaking image after heartbreaking image of devastation and brokenness. But also to hopefully to make it a bit more personal for you and encourage you to firstly pray! Then secondly GIVE. As humanitarian aid pours in from around the world – there is still much to be done. With thousands of lives thought to be lost and more than 11 million people affected including 1.7 million children! More than 600,000 people have been displaced.
Displaced means they don’t have a home.
Not only without a HOME but even basic shelter!
This nation needs our help. It can be easy to feel dis-attached to the horrific images in the news but they are lives, ordinary people like you and I – most living in poverty and every dollar can make a difference.
We can’t do everything but we MUST do something.
I know from my end my mum is actually co-ordinating personal donations from friends and family here going direct to Isabel, Leyte (my uncle happens to be the mayor of the town!) as they have yet to recieve official aid.
Over a week has passed AND THEY ARE ONLY STARTING TO SEE AID ARRIVE! 7 days without shelter….without enough food or cleaning drinking water….without electricity.
People are desperate for food and water first – and then shelter. She has yet to talk with her family directly in Isabel – only family in the major cities as there is no electricity or hardly any mobile service and its thought that they wont have electricity for a few months!
There are plenty of humanitarian organisations that are coordinating relief and aid. World Vision, OXFAM, Unicef and Red Cross to name a few. With children thought to be half of the dead and so many children in particular displaced – this leaves them vulnerable to more poverty, no education but also human trafficking.
My family is lucky, our family is safe. Very weary, a little hungry but safe and all accounted for. My grandparents lost their roof and had extensive damage to their house which will most likely need rebuilding from scratch.
Please give what you can…