Warning: Some disturbing pictures featured below

I am assuming that by now, most of you have heard of the devastating super typhoon that hit my birth country Philippines last Friday (November 8).  Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” (International name “Haiyan”) left millions of people homeless and thousands of people dead (still counting). Five days later, we’re slowly seeing the devastation and we’re hearing the many tragic stories.  Sadly, for those people who experienced Haiyan’s wrath, the nightmare is far from over.

Haiyan was a bad-ass typhoon before it even hit the Philippines because it broke the storm measurement scale.  It is said to be the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall with wind speeds up to 315 km/h or 195 mph.  It was assessed as a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon. Insane.

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I grew up in the Philippines and we get bagyo (typhoon) over there all the time.  My scariest bagyo experience was Super Typhoon Ruping back in 1990.  Super Typhoon Ruping (International name Typhoon Mike) to this day is still considered as one of the worst typhoons in Central Philippine history.  My hometown Bacolod, was one of the badly hit areas. As a child then, I remember being more excited than scared because the whole family were together. We were all gathered near the lounge area and the adults we’re telling us to pray. We were all calm until the strong winds ripped off our roof and blew it away.  I remember my Auntie was crying, I was crying and my mom hugging me and I thought we were going to be blown away like in the Ora Engkantada fairytale inspired TV show. I think we just transferred to another room and eventually the rain stopped and it was over.  Super Typhoon Ruping was only category 3.

The many tragic stories emerging from the disaster are reminiscent of the stories I’ve heard from Hurricane Katrina. Only now though, it’s much closer to home. Haiyan hit the central region of the Philippines where most of my family and friends are from. Where I am from…

I am thankful and relieved that my family and friends are safe and okay. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain of those people who not only lost their houses/livelihoods but also lost their loved ones and their pets at the same time. Houses/livelihood can be replaced/rebuild, lives cant.

Luckily, we now have social media.  Dissemination of information is so much faster because we were getting updates straight from the people that we’re affected. We were getting updates on what’s really happening from our family and friends through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (most lines were cut off). Sadly, as what Anderson Cooper reported on CNN, after five days, there has been no clean-up effort, no distribution of goods, no police presence to stop looting, nothing organized put in place for the worst affected area (i.e. Tacloban). I am quite dismayed to hear that foreign volunteers were quicker to respond even though they were coming from thousands of miles away than our local government but I also understand that the local government probably just don’t have the right equipment’s to deploy all the relief goods especially to the badly hit areas.

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(please note that the pictures featured were taken from various online sites)

With all these sadness, I am appeased by the outpouring concern and support from people from all over the world. So thankful for the many countries that have pledged huge amount of money and have sent their troops to help, without hesitation. The volunteers from different organizations for giving their time and effort. I know most of my friends are doing all sorts of fundraising.  Thankful that my company have accepted my appeal to raise funds and will match all staff donations. I almost want to cry when I hear some kids as young as 7 years old wanting to donate money. These act of kindness will help rebuild the Philippines in no time.

And I want to say to my affected kababayan’s that help is coming.

Please don’t lose hope because the world has got your back Philippines!

Kaya natin to mahal kong Pilipinas,

Geri

P.S. Below are some organizations that you can donate to that are doing a direct Typhoon Haiyan appeal, thank you very much:

In Australia

Red Cross Org. (Australia) –  http://www.redcross.org.au/typhoon-haiyan-2013.aspx

CARE Australia – https://www.care.org.au/haiyan-donate

Médecins Sans Frontières – http://www.msf.org.au/from-the-field/field-news/field-news/article/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-update.html

In Philippines

Red Cross Philippines – http://ushare.redcross.org.ph/

Sagip Kapamilya –  http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/tulongph

Yes Pinoy Foundationhttp://www.yespinoy.org

Global

UN World Food Program https://www.wfp.org/donate/typhoon-philippines-b

UNICEF – http://www.unicef.org/

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