There are just no words these days to describe what has happened to my beautiful country. I write this from the capital of Manila, which was spared the catastrophic effects of the world’s strongest recorded typhoon, Haiyan, which befell our country last November 8.
The most affected regions are in the Southern region, the Visayas. These islands comprise some of our top tourist destinations, and are home to some of the world’s most beautiful beach landscapes, including the famous Boracay island, Bohol, and Palawan, where we have several world heritage churches and protected coral reefs.
Today, we don’t know what will come of these cities, which have all been ravaged by nature’s cruelest storm to date.
Watching CNN is both helpful and heartbreaking. Helpful, because it keeps us attuned to what’s going on; heartbreaking, because the images they show slowly wear away at the human heart. Daily — sometimes by the hour — we receive more news about the worsening situations in the Southern Philippines.
Our country is in shock. I know it would be easy for some to blame our government, too, and not that I am a hundred percent in agreement with the way things are run, but I also believe our President and officials of the affected cities are in shock, too. The finger-pointing and guilt-tripping on social media disgusts me, to the point that I’ve sometimes stayed off for hours, just to filter out the negativism.
The images we’ve seen on social media and the news provoke despair. I can’t remember how many times I’ve cried for the 2,000 ++ lives that were claimed by the storm — and the numbers climb daily.
And yet we have to remember that these are not mere numbers and statistics. These are real people. Some of them are my own relatives: My grandmother is from Tacloban, “ground zero” of the Haiyan storm. To this day, we have not heard from our relatives who lived just minutes away from Tacloban airport. (My grandmother is safe with us here in Manila, though.)
Even as I write this, I struggle for words. I couldn’t even finish this post, because my heart ached too much.
Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through Leyte province on Friday, according to various news reports. Every hour, we watch the news are hear stories of survivors foraging for food and searching for loved ones. Supplies are pouring into the country from many countries, but the logistics on-land are just appalling, since police stations, hospitals and health centers in the affected regions have also been flattened or swept up by the killer storm.
The fact is: Entire cities have been destroyed; farms and beaches once frequented by tourists, have been flattened and decimated; people have lost homes, businesses, livelihood, and loved ones.
Experts say it will take years to recover from the aftermath. Electricity, perhaps, will be restored in about six months. Roads have been cleared of debris from the storm, but most are still not passable. In fact, the only road to the most storm-torn city is a grueling six hour drive from the nearest major city, and even now, people struggle to get vital supplies to those who need it most.
And yet, I am confident to say: I know the Filipino people will survive this.
Humanity has shone brightly through foreign aid; our country feels the compassion from around the world. Yes, it’s a matter of getting the supplies, the medical aid and the food to where people need them the most. Yes, we do need to fix our logistics; our local government units are overwhelmed. But, I know that slowly, we will survive this. We must, for another storm, Zoraida, it set to fall in the coming days.
We are far from recovering. We are in dire need; we need you, to help us get back on our feet again.
How to help the Philippines
Mothers around the world: If you’d like to extend help towards the Philippines as we pull through this time of calamity, you can do so through the following channels of foreign aid: (Image via Rappler.com). Our friends at the UN and Save The Children are actively participating in all humanitarian efforts, and so I enjoin the moms, through our Social Good campaigns, to help my country.
We will get through this, but right now, our country is in pain. It is only with world love, world help, and solidarity that our country can rise from the destruction. Thank you in advance., on behalf of mothers in the Philippines, for your help.
This is an original post by Martine de Luna for World Moms Blog. Photo credits to the sources.