Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Last week I was so dispirited. I was looking at my face in the mirror and scattered everywhere where pimples, huge, hard-to-get-rid-of cystic acne. I felt utterly depressed wtf like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. A few months ago they weren't there, and now, they just won't budge.

Nope, the title is not wrong: Friday evening, finally, I watched the news. Shame on me! What a sheltered, spoiled brat again I was to have worried over shallow facial problems, when people from Leyte and other parts of the country suffered unedurably, horribly, from the devastating Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. I knew they said it was the worst storm to ever hit but I guess no one dared to imagine how horrifying things would turn out...

I must admit, things like this have happened several times in the PH, I was horrified, yes, it was heartbreaking to see others suffer so much, but before, I was detached from it, it happened to other people, not me. Till I saw on facebook that a good college friend had moved to Tacloban months before and didn't survive the vicious storm. I was stunned. Totally stunned. I couldn't believe it, that it could happen to someone I know. She was a wonderful woman, I looked up to her in school, and I remember how I would go to her design class and chat for hours; apart from that, she was someone who believed in me and inspired me to do my best. Just last week I was chatting with her on fb, it was her birthday and then now, she's gone... Suddenly I was struck with fear, what if that happened to my mom and dad? Together with this was an overwhelming sense of gratitude that they weren't, it was a confusing convolution of feelings altogether. Until now I couldn't stop thinking about all the lives that were affected...

On top of these, came across a forum shared on fb:

You can also see comments like these on Yahoo! (though I think Yahoo moderates them). I know, I know I shouldn't even be posting this here. I don't want to spark a debate, I don't want everyone to fight! When I first read the above I was dumbfounded, how can anyone be so mean? No matter what evil, what incompetence anyone has ever done to you, nothing, NOTHING warrants this kind of reaction... it is purely inhuman and vile. How can you say that people deserve that kind of misery? You mean to say that my friend, who was kind and loving and was one of the most wonderful person I've known, deserved to die in such a way?

I myself have chastised Filipinos for our wrong attitudes and irresponsible ways, but I don't think now is the right time to point that out.

The best thing to do, however, is to NOT REPLY and just IGNORE all these nasty comments. I don't want to share the link to the forum. It won't do any good to answer back, as their minds are already closed to their own opinions, in part I also know why they have borne such hatred, but I repeat--there's not enough reason to say such comments. Besides, every nationality has their own "cockroaches"--accdg to their terms, that much I admit--as these few are to their own country. Yes, "few". I know majority are nice and truly kindhearted, it is just unfortunate that the above are more free to post such things. There are still a lot of good in humanity and I choose to believe in them instead, and I urge everyone to feel the same. I am posting the above image so we may learn from it: do not be like them.

Speaking of good in humanity, I am truly grateful for the rest of the world who have aided the Philippines in this time of need. These are the countries that have helped so far, thank you so so very much~ and I hope all these will be utilized and allocated to effectively help those who were affected:

AUSTRALIA - US$10 million package
BELGIUM - medical and search and rescue personnel
CANADA - C$5 million
DENMARK - KR 10 million
GERMANY - 23 tons of relief goods
HUNGARY - search and rescue personnel and rapid response team
INDONESIA - in-kind donations
ISRAEL- team of medical, trauma and relief professionals
JAPAN - emergency relief medical team
MALAYSIA - medical and search and rescue teams
THE NETHERLANDS - undisclosed financial aid
NEW ZEALAND - NZ $2.15 million
NORWAY - KR 20 million
RUSSIA - rapid response team
SAUDI ARABIA through Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - US$100,000 + reliefs goods
SINGAPORE - $200,000
South Korea government - 5 million USD, Samsung - 1 million USD, Korea NGOOCD - 1 million USD
SPAIN - in-kind donations
SWEDEN- emergency communications equipment
TAIWAN - $200,000
VATICAN CITY - $150,000
TURKEY - medics, rapid response team, search and rescue personnel
UNITED KINGDOM - £6 million and $9.6 million worth of emergency support package
UNITED NATIONS Children's Fund - $1.3 million worth of supplies
UNITED STATES - initial $100,000 for water and sanitation; Troops, emergency respondents, transportation and equipment

(Note: These information were taken online and are updated as of 13 November 2013. Please feel free to correct any inaccuracy.)

Individually, we all can help as well. General advice is that now, Cash is better than in kind, because logistics can prove to be a problem; however, please make sure that you are donating to the right charities and organizations. You can also still donate used items but please ensure that they can be used, such as blankets, tents, clothes like sweaters (and not ballgowns, stilettos  and the like), easily opened canned goods, biscuits. Noodles are also not advised because of the difficulty of heating water given the current situation. Bottled water are also appreciated.

For those residing in Singapore, you can help through Red Cross:

To donate
Please visit the Red Cross House at 15 Penang Lane Singapore 238486, from 9am to
7pm (Mon-Fri) 9am to Noon (Sat-Sun), or post your cheque to ‘Singapore Red Cross Society’ at the above address. 

Please indicate ‘Red Cross Haiyan Relief’ on the back of the cheque, along with your name, contact no. and address.

Note: In-kind donations (food, clothes, etc) are not accepted due to logistical considerations. Tax deduction is not applicable for overseas giving.

To volunteer
The Singapore Red Cross welcomes volunteers to man its hotlines and fund collection booths. Please register with the volunteer team at 6664 0500.

For a more comprehensive list of ways to help, visit:

Photos grabbed from CNN, New York Times, Reuters &The Australian.

Some facts regarding Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan and its devastating effects in the Philippines:

  • It made its first landfall in the Philippines on the morning of Nov. 8, 2013.
  • It made a total of five landfalls: first in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, then Bantayan Island, DaanbantayanPanay, and Busuanga Island.
  • It is one of the strongest cyclone ever recorded; 3.5 times more ferocious than Hurricane Katrina and enough to span from Spain to Sweden.
  • Before the storm, 700,000 were evacuated to Red Cross Shelters. The shelters themselves didn't survive the storm and people died there as well.
  • The winds reached as strong as 235 mph but it was the 5-meter tall wall of Ocean water that killed and swept away homes and lives together.
  • The storm lasted for a day and when it reached Vietnam on Nov. 9, 2013, wind gusts quieted down to up to 115 mph.

There have been a lot of finger-pointing and criticisms, saying that the Philippines never prepared despite being forewarned of this monstrous storm. It may be right in that more comprehensive preventive measures could have been implemented. But then again, I guess the storm really was too strong; as it destroyed even the shelters where the people were evacuated. The storm surge was unexpected and this is what killed thousands. It is also hard to move every single person off the island as the Philippines is divided into small islands and travel is very difficult for such a population. There have been suggestions to be build more storm-resistant shelters such as underground ones (but could this prevent people from drowning?).

Bottom line is, this is not the time to blame anyone and talk a lot about could haves and should haves. It's done. It's over. People died. People suffered. They still are. What we should do is not only help, but LEARN. Learn from this tragedy. Seriously, this happens almost every year. How many thousands of people have to die before we device ways to minimize (completely eliminate is impossible) the fatalities?

After a while, we will all go back to our mundane lives, I would probably go back to thinking of ways to clear my breakouts, and everyone will continue posting their selfies and live on. That's how life is. But let's not forget. Please, let us all learn from this tragedy so that in the future, less lives will be lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment