After a terrifying 7.2 earthquake last month, the Philippines has once again been rocked by devastation as super typhoon Haiyan surged the islands. My publishing liaison and his family live in the Philippines and I was horrified to see how little news coverage this has received on the networks. I emailed Julius to check on him and this is what he had to say,
“Thank you for writing and for your concerns. I hope I can express all the fears and sadness we have in this letter. There were so many lives that were lost compared as to what was counted over the news as well as thousands of houses and livelihood were devastated. Here in Cebu City were I work, took only less damages compared to Northern Visayas and Eastern Region were most of my family, relatives and friends resides – where lives and properties were lost. They need food, clothes, shelter and medicine and I don’t know if help coming from different countries can accommodate the majority.”
The US has deployed an aircraft carrier and navy ships, while the UK is sending a naval destroyer.
The Philippines have been a major non-NATO alliance to the United States for 50 years, and we sit and discuss healthcare reform when thousands of our allies are going without medicine and drinking water.
While millions of American dollars are spent at war and supporting countries that despise us, our friends in the Pacific Ocean are suffering.
“We need help. Nothing is happening. We haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon,” pleaded a weeping Aristone Balute, an 81-year-old woman who failed to get a flight out of Tacloban for Manila, the capital. Her clothes were soaked from a pouring rain and tears streamed down her face.
Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 people on Leyte island, bore the full force of the winds and the tsunami-like storm surges Friday. Most of the city is in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees. Malls, garages and shops have all been stripped of food and water by hungry residents.
Doctors in Tacloban said they were desperate for medicine.
I’ll be sending medicine. After the last Super Typhoon, I sent antibiotic creams, bandages, socks, shoes and anti fungal powders because when this kind of devastation hits, a small infection can be life threatening and these are inexpensive items here. Items such as toothbrushes and soap that may cost less than a dollar here are much needed there. I’m not sure how I’ll be handling my shipping yet so if you have any ideas let me know. I just feel that as a healthcare provider with children, knowing I could help someone I have a business relationship with, feels like a requirement. Same with Katrina, same with the India earthquakes. I’m calling on others to do the same.
When I asked Julius what I could do to help, he humbly responded,
“Madam, whatever form of help will be appreciated. My colleagues plan to go North over the weekend and offered me a free ride. I can only bring some few stocks of food and water and some used clothes from my friends. I don’t know how soon your help can get to us. I am thankful for your assistance and i am praying to God to shower you with more blessings and your family.”
I will be shipping a package tomorrow.
So many veterans speak highly of The Philippines and the time they spent there. The great love of the people towards their family and friends alike is world known.
The Royal Australian Air Force also landed at Cebu, delivering a portable field hospital that was soon sent on its way to Tacloban. Taiwanese troops also arrived with medical aid, and Doctors Without Borders said three of nine cargo shipments it has planned also arrived in Cebu on Wednesday.
The slowness of delivery of food and basic medical aid is the biggest threat to lives.
“There are people there right now who can be saved. And it could be as simple as antibiotics that cost a penny.”
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