I saw the pictures, and I cried.
Debris and bodies covered what used to be city streets. Survivors clutched each other as they navigated through flood waters to find safety. Families frantically searched for loved ones or wept over those lost to the storm.
The people of the Philippines are now reeling from one of the worst natural disasters in history. Authorities estimate Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit Nov. 10, may have taken as many as 10,000 lives in the island nation.
How you can help
Pray. Be a strong shoulder for your Filipino neighbors. Make a financial gift to aid organizations such as the Red Cross, CARE, Samaritan’s Purse, Catholic Relief Services or World Vision. Please go to these organizations’ websites to learn more or donate online.
Please do not gather supplies
Please do not gather supplies that require shipment. My former job with an international shipping company allowed me to help coordinate disaster relief shipments, and I quickly learned that although public-donated items come from the heart, they can hinder relief efforts. When a tsunami raced through the Indian Ocean in 2004, there were countless well-meaning donations of items such as cold-weather clothing and canned meats like Spam and sausages. The items were neither needed nor wanted – donors did not understand the tsunami hit a tropical area with a large Muslim population.
It is infinitely faster and more effective to let aid organizations collect bulk donations or purchase needed items from regions nearer to the site. These groups know what is needed, and many companies work directly with them by donating ship-ready pallets of food, clean up supplies, medicines, clothing and shelter items. Unsolicited materials, especially those from far-away locations like the U.S., take valuable time and resources away from relief efforts because volunteers must sort through the donations, pack them, pay for shipment (money that could be used for needed items) and then find distribution sites and volunteers in the hard-hit areas.
On a personal note
There are several Fish Friends in the Philippines who have reached out to me after the “Dear Daughter” post. I am fervently praying for their safety today; however, given the devastation, I fear some of them may have lost their lives in the storm.
There are no platitudes that can take away the pain of such loss, but as a believer, there is comfort in knowing God has lifted their souls from the rushing water and into his peaceful kingdom today.
Please do what you can to help our friends in the Philippines. To the survivors, know that we love you and help is on the way.