Tag Archives: Typhoon

Nine months after typhoon Haiyan…

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Sometimes stories can be very difficult to justify when your sources comes from the main stream. At times it can get very redundant and confusing that it losses it’s soul purpose in providing the truth.

In times like today, social media is just that, a source of main stream information. It has become part of our daily life that one can read a story, and it will come and go in a few days. Even if it is a huge disaster that will take a long time to recover, so many unfortunate events out there, it can be easily forgotten.

The big cities are still struggling to fight what is needed to be done, in essence for the forgotten ones, this has become almost a losing battle. The smaller barrios are now at the tipping point where once the shelters provided were meant to be temporary is becoming permanent. Many barrangay’s regard their schools, just like the church, a pride of the community. The centre of knowledge where their children can learn and get a better future. However, as time goes by many wonder if it will still be there.

The small villages are suffering the consequences of political debacle and egotism. Practically nowadays, politicians are worried about their credibility to be re-elected than taking action of what is necessary.

To see the faces of these children is to see the harsh reality they are still challenged with. Rain or shine they go, even if the ground is muddy or the roof is leaking. Resilience can only go for so long, but if nobody helps them soon the whole village will die. It’s their home and nobody should dictate what and where they should go.

As the 9th month anniversary draws near, we shouldn’t be seeing infrastructure that are still in poor condition anymore. A sign of progress should be evident, but the voices of these people and the children are getting silenced more so than ever before.

To us, it may mean nothing, to them it’s their future. We have the inner willingness to help others in any we can. It’s our nature to see humanity and dignity in others who have very little to hang on to.

45 Days Later…

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Many of us will be fortunate enough to celebrate this holiday season with our close friends and family members. Children will receive Christmas presents, many will gather for a huge feast of turkey, dressing and desserts, while some of us will ring in the new year with champagne and resolutions we’ll try to keep.

This year, for the people of MacArthur Leyte, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations will not come. As the world is already aware, on Nov. 8th 2013, super-typhoon Haiyan barreled through the Phillipines, affecting the island of Leyte, where the town of MacArthur was one of many that were affected by its’ destructive wrath. Many homes and livelihoods are disrupted to the point where everything that once existed is either completely gone, or reduced to rubble. Not only are private residences affected, but infrastructure and municipal services (including postal and emergency response agencies) are also crippled. Schools have been destroyed, and roads are blocked with debris, leaving the region to rebuild from scratch, leaving remote villages the last to receive assistance.

A month and a half after the super-typhoon’s destruction, people are still recovering from the shock and devastation. This slow process makes plans to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s unfathomable. When a natural disaster affects a large area and population, although a certain level of chaos can be expected in the early stages, it can be assumed that relief efforts would be as fair and efficient as possible. In MacArthur, it has been nothing but fair and efficient. To this day we still hear people crying for help. Relief has been distributed only five times to MacArthur since it arrived two weeks after the typhoon. Aid is received in the form of a weekly rations kit to sustain a family until the next delivery. One hoping to bring something home to survive can expect to receive 2 kilos of rice instead of 10, 4 canned goods instead of 12, and to have their medicines stolen and sold on the black market. To exacerbate this, villagers from remoter areas within the municipality of MacArthur have to walk for miles to pick up their aid due to inflated gas prices. There are only a few villages that receive direct aid drop-off, yet for many alternate routes to get to the drop centers are required because direct roads are still blocked. Only a month after the typhoon, the Department of Social, Welfare and Development announced that aid would be cut back towards the end of December, stating families with special needs and the elderly would be eligible for additional “aid” delivered at certain drop centers. Many feel two months is not enough time to recuperate and are frustrated at the premature removal of government assistance.

From Typhoon Haiyan to today, the town of MacArthur has been without electricity, thereby relying on one of the most environmental friendly sources of energy to function: the sun. Solar light kits are in high demand and are selling at inflated costs. Few can afford them and those who do can only get one per household. Other sources of light, like candles and gas are precious commodities. Slow clean up of the debris and decay, combined with stagnant pools of water on the side of the road, have contributed to the rise of mosquito borne diseases. Dengue fever has become prevalent and medicine is essential to families who have fallen ill with it. Many schools are still without roofs, while a few in the smaller villages have to work in open-air rooms.

Now that the Christmas holiday season is here, lets think about the families that are still waiting for theirs. We know what it is like to be surrounded by loved ones and celebration, but for the people of MacArthur Leyte, they have very little to celebrate. We could all give them hope, spirit, and dignity to start all over again. Please visit our Facebook page campaign Aid for Typhoon Haiyan Victims. Thank you and madamo nga salamat ha iyo.

Aid For Typhoon Haiyan Victims

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We at AFTHV, sometimes forget that there are people behind this small organization that also deserves to be recognized. In fact these few members have gone far beyond their duties to help run our Facebook campaign. These three people have done so much to make things happen from the beginning of our campaign up to the end of our last donation drive. They also come from different background in there perspective career, but they all share a common goal, to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan.

I would like to share with you three of our people that have helped AFTHV become a reality, Brian Hungerford, Brittni Smallwood, and Juliet Corpuz.

Brian Hungerford is a registered nurse working in the field of home visiting nurse program. His passion to help people has resonated also to helping the people of Leyte. He is the cofounder of AFTHV and have helped me immensely in developing and organizing the idea of Facebook campaign. Brian has also helped by donating medics supplies that were sent on the last donation drive to the people in MacArthur Leyte. We know being a nurse is a career of compassion and caring for the people, we can’t thank him enough how much he has done for running this innovative idea to become a reality.

Brittni Smallwood, has been with us at the very beginning of the campaign. As a news reporter for WIVB buffalo news, she helped us expose our campaign through the media and reported the devastation that happened in Leyte. Residing in Buffalo, NY she became a great asset to us because she was able to reach the American viewers. Her willingness to help spread the word of our campaign has proven to us that she cares for the the victims of Haiyan. She prays that all the victims will be served equally and that the people of Leyte will return to its normalcy soon. Brittni will be doing a follow up story in the near future, she knows that if she can help a little bit by telling our story on TV it will go long way in the future.

Juliet corpuz , is perhaps the happiest, most charitable person to have had in our campaign . Her passion to help organize the delivery of our care packages has been a huge help for us. Juliet, also runs her own charitable work called live to give , and she surely has proven to us that she lives to give. Juliet and I organized the donation drive which we collected and delivered boxes to the people of Leyte. We couldn’t have done a successful drive without her cheerful and proactive help in the logistic part of our campaign.

Although we are a very small organization, we have a very big project that we continue to pursue. Our goal is to continue to help the small villages after typhoon Haiyan, and to raise awareness of the current situation in Leyte. We know how hard and how long it takes to get help done in the under represented towns, but with our campaign, we continue to spread the word in hopes that someday we will be sharing success stories instead of pleas for help. Please like our page if you feel this is important to you, we thank you for your support.

The Legacy of Typhoon Haiyan

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Last weeks program on NOVA, it provided us a different perspective on how a typhoon is formed and why Haiyan became the perfect storm. This week our feature blog could not have been more fitting. We tried to answer the questions brought to us by an enquiring student. This email comes to us from a young student name Jesus Pacheco, of Catalonia, Spain. Here at AFTHV we always encourage our youths to be part of a very important discussions, not just knowing the event, but understanding the impact it has on the people affected by the typhoon and what we can learn from the calamity.

These were the four questions that were brought up;

1. What news were in the city when they heard there would be a strong typhoon?

The bigger cities had warnings to heed the upcoming storm. Weather reports from local radios and televisions provided informations and social media also kept up with the people of the Philippines updated. However the smaller barrangays did not understand the degree of what was about to come. Filipinos, in general, are used to typhoon in the area. This was just beyond what they had expected.

2. What happened after this typhoon?
Were there a lot of help from other countries to rebuild what was broken, to help people who had lost their homes, etc?

The Majority of Northern leyte was wiped out. Tacloban City became ground zero because it also got hit with a huge storm surge. When the local meteorologist announced the arrival of the typhoon, they did not take it into consideration of the storm surge. It was barely mentioned. If the surge was factored in to the warning, it could’ve saved more lives in the area. Evacuation could have been implemented ahead of time. The storm surge was so strong, it even lifted a cargo ship on to the mainland.
Help did not arrived until five days later, as there were lack of organization and poor management on the government’s part.

3. How is the city now?

Currently the major cities are getting the basic humanitarian aid and rebuilding of the infrastructure, however the smaller villages, like the ones we have been campaigning, are left unattended or are last to be served. What could’ve have been done, with all the donated funds to the country, is to establish a rehabilitation program. If the funds were used properly, local civic government could’ve provided seasonal contract employment to the local people to help the clean up, and not just rebuilding of the infrastructure, but also provide incentives to private sectors that will drive the unemployment rate low. When you offer work, people will spend money, when you spend money, there will be demand for other goods to be sold, thus creating local economy which leads to taxes back to civic funds. It can only be done if the local representatives understands the repercussions of what can happen when you work for the people.

4. What do you think they should have done to the country to avoid this catastrophe?

Local government needs to implement emergency respond programs and slush funds to make sure the next disaster recovery is more organized. Unfortunately, the present government administration has failed to provide even the basic need to aid the victims from the calamity. Non-governmental aid has far exceeded the help to re-establish the populated areas. Foreign aid and NGO’s have come together in support of helping the victims of Haiyan. Don’t you think it’s time to act what Leyte deserves from the current administration?

Two Months Later…

Another year has passed and many of us were fortunate enough to celebrate the season of love and friendship with those that are near and dear to us. We unwrapped our gifts, enjoyed turkey, sweets, maybe some egg nog and alcohol and relaxed, surrounded by   image

the coziness of what we each are fortunate enough to call home. We celebrated the birth of a new year and resolved once again to be better people in the months ahead.

But for some, like the victims of Super-typhoon Haiyan, Christmas came and went without celebration as people continued to grieve their losses and line up for their rations which were meagre to start out with and had been pillage by the hands that held them first.
November 8 2013. Super-typhoon Haiyan barreled through the island of Leyte, and the town of MacArthur became one of the many that were affected by the storm’s destructive wrath.
A new life greets them in the coming year. Homes, livelihoods, and for some, friends and family, gone. Stores, schools and churches, gone. Roads blocked with debris hampers the rescue efforts and, in some of the hardest hit areas, the stench of the dead hangs as a grim reminder.

Two months later the people in these areas struggle to recover from this disaster. Christmas was celebrated in line for rations and blessings were counted by those who had lost only their homes and belongings but not their family.
Rescue and aid efforts have been very slow in coming. Aid should be meted out fairly to all in the area but in the town of MacArthur, a town too small to be newsworthy, the dispensing of aid has been less than fair.
When aid finally arrived in the town of MacArthur it was not till two weeks after the typhoon and only five times in total since then. People walk for miles because of the extreme gas prices or wait in line in the heat, hoping to receive enough rations to survive. What they get has been pillaged by the hands that delivered it. 10 kilos of rice becomes mysteriously pared down to two, canned goods arrive 2 out of a dozen. Medicine intended for the victims becomes waylaid to be sold on the black market.

Just a month after the typhoon, DSWD (Dept. of Social, Welfare, and Development), announced that aid will be cut back near the end of December. Only families with special needs, and the elderly will be receiving further supplies, and it will only be delivered to certain drop centers. Two months of sparse help. Hardly long enough to help a community whose world was erased in a few short hours to begin to live again.
In MacArthur Leyte help from the local infrastructure is slow. The town still has no electricity, thereby relying on one of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy, the sun. Solar light kits are in high demand so the price of these kits is very high. Only a few can afford them and those who can could only get one for a household. Prices for other sources of light like candles and gas are still inflated. Debris still remains on the side of the road sitting in stagnant pools of water for weeks. The rise of mosquito borne diseases like dengue fever has become prevalent. Medicines are essential to families who have gotten sick from it.

Christmas is over for us but the spirit of giving is year round. Please find it in your heart to help the so soon forgotten victims in the outlying villages like MacArthur Leyte who have bravely tried to find something to celebrate about. Perhaps we who have had so much to be thankful for this holiday season could find it in our hearts to give them a little help, a little dignity, and a perhaps, a lot of hope. Perhaps our resolution to be come better people could start right .

Thank you all for your support and please click like on our FB page to spread the word.