In the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)
I'm watching CNN correspondents describing typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in the Philippine city of Tacloban in the province of Leyte and its environs... "its incomparable... off the scale ... apocalyptic..." (and this typhoon hit us about a couple of weeks after the 7-scale earthquake in a neighboring province). Yolanda really did a number on us, took more than a thousand lives, crushed homes to smithereens, left people without food, shelter, drinking water. It affected over two-thirds of this humble archipelago of ours. A disaster of this scale has not been seen in these parts. I cannot even begin to describe the devastation. I would point you to social media and the internet to see for yourself and maybe you would comprehend just how hard this natural disaster has hit us...#Yolanda or #Haiyan should do the trick...
We get super typhoons here every so often and we are used to weathering the storm so to speak. But every once in a while we are tested with unusually strong typhoons, a little bit more than other nations. This time around we are introduced to the storm surge phenomenon. Our local government officials were comfortable with the preparations they made for a super typhoon but unfortunately, they did not prepare for a storm surge. Had they known that this storm surge is akin to a tsunami, they would have adjusted their preparations accordingly...government officials in this region are adept at preparing for a typhoon, an earthquake, a tsunami, but a storm surge is new to their ears.
How You Can Help
- Typhoon Haiyan/Typhoon Yolanda recovery: How you can help
Several major aid organizations will be assisting those who were affected by the record-setting Typhoon Haiyan
The Filipino Spirit
I am a proud Filipino. I love my country, my history, my heritage. I thank God everyday that I belong to a race that is not given to drama or depression. We are a smiling race, we play just as hard as we work, we love life, we are probably the most hospitable people in the world. We will give our guests our best china, our best linens, our best food. We roll with life's punches and we pick ourselves up, dust off the dirt and move on. One trait that keeps coming up when there are discussions about Filipinos is "resilience". Such a big word but never more true this day, in Yolanda's wake. Imagine a storm surge that left dead bodies in the streets. A couple watched as the storm surge took their three children away and only two were recovered, lifeless. How does one recover after that?
Today, food and drinking water is scare, so scarce that people have resorted to looting to stay alive. Everything they own is gone, no clothing, no shelter, nothing. The mayor of Tacloban said he has not spoken to anyone who has not lost a friend or a loved one. News crews have captured blank faces, hysterical crowds, the father seeking forgiveness for not helping his relatives because he had to keep his family together, which he lost too in the end. A man called out to his relatives abroad to say that he is missing five family members.
But now that they typhoon has passed, its time to rebuild, it is the time when we again display that indomitable spirit, that resilience that everyone is talking about. For what else can we do?It is during times like these that we are reminded of how small we are in God's grand plan. We are reminded of how fleeting life really is. Filipinos today are all saying a silent prayer for our fellowmen who had to live through this harrowing experience. We are digging deep in our pockets to help restore life and dignity to those affected.
Philippines: God's Country
Our fellowmen who were affected by this disaster, are still getting affected by it, are getting their strength and their will to continue from God. It is a common Catholic belief that God will never give us a trial that we cannot overcome and we hold fast to that belief. We see the shining sun today as God's way of telling us that our hopes are renewed. Today as we rebuild, we realize that God is watching over us. We can hear His voice saying that all will be well, that He will send His angels to lift us up.
I think it is no accident that the Philippines is the only Christian and predominantly Catholic country in Asia. Eighty percent of the population is Catholic. We have thousands of churches spread across our 7,000 plus islands. It has been this way for centuries, ever since we became a nation. It is as strong today as it was then, if not even stronger. Our faith burns in our hearts, it directs our lives, it is our deep well of strength, happiness, and love.
Today, God singled us out for disaster. He knows our resilience. He knows we can rise above this trial. We would never wear our suffering like a badge of honor. You wouldn't even know the depth of it. All you will see is a race that is going through a trying time but is kept strong by faith. We believe that it is also God who will restore us. He will raise us up. If God is for us, who can be against...? says the song. No typhoon, no earthquake, not even man-made disasters, can defeat us. Not when God is on our side.
Churches in Bohol After the Earthquake
When the centuries old churches in Bohol were destroyed by the earthquake, our faith just got stronger. A church building is only a structure. The real church of God resides in our hearts. Structures can be destroyed but they can be rebuilt but our faith is ever alive, it can never be swept away by a natural disaster.
Information about Sagip Kapamilya Operation Yolanda
- Sagip Kapamilya
Local media giant ABS-CBN runs one of the most organized relief operations in the country today.