Thanks to Super Typhoon Yolanda, boats are now sitting on dry land, far inland! However, the greatest sorrow of this devastating storm is that an estimated 10,000 people in the Tacloban, Leyte area lost their lives. I do not think words can actually convey the grief, sorrow and sadness of those of us who live in the Philippines or who have a strong connection with the Philippines.
The international community has joined hands in sending assistance in many forms and relief goods to the Philippines. Other communities within the Philippines have also joined rank and collections of relief supplies and monies have been underway since word reached about the mass suffering in Tacloban and other areas in the Philippines. All told, Super Typhoon Yolanda has affected an estimated 10 million people in 41 provinces. It is difficult to imagine the strength and danger of a storm packing 200 MPH or 315 KPH powerful winds..until you see the aftermath!
A United Front
Among the famous help agencies, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Programme, World Vision, Global Medic, Save The Children, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Catholic Relief Services and other charity agencies around the world are working around the clock to get the much needed aid to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
Many government agencies from countries around the round world are also going overboard to do their share to assist in providing the much needed emergency aid in the Philippines. The US Pentagon has already sent military personnel and equipment from Japan to assist with the relief effort, including KC-130J Hercules aircraft, with equipment including tilt-rotor aircraft, which can operate without runways. A massive effort is underway!
My article is not a solicitation to donate because it is my philosophy that those who have the heart to donate will do so without being asked! People can read about the destruction, the massive loss of lives and the problems facing the rebuilding of wiped out areas, so they can fathom the need and it is up to them to kick in or remain insulated.
Super Typhoon Yolanda in Negros Occidental
The Governor of Negros Occidental, Alfredo Marañon Jr, has declared Negros Occidental under a State of Calamity, following the devastation left by Yolanda. Overall, Negros Occidental was spared from the powerful destruction of the typhoon, however, more than 10,000 houses were destroyed. There was only one reported fatality in Negros Occidental, yet, it could have numbered hundreds or thousands more.
Relief operations are underway, as monies for housing material to rebuild and emergency goods are being distributed.
Personally, we did not have any damage to our two houses. No one in our family or among our many friends were injured. Our newly planted rice crop was not destroyed and none of our livestock suffered injuries. We are very thankful and we are counting our blessings! At our house in Bacolod City, we had a power outage for 30 hours.
Annually, the Philippines is always hit by natural disasters and calamities. Among them, a number of typhoons, earthquakes and sometimes, volcanic eruptions. Without failure, around Christmas time you can count on a major calamity, as the local saying goes! It has certainly been true the last 4 years around November and December.
Due to the massive coastlines of the Philippines, the many islands, the native houses and lack of emergency preparedness in some extreme rural areas, the destruction in the Philippines is often staggering compared to disasters in more developed countries. However, no matter how developed, there is not one country in the world that can control Mother Nature!
Living in the USA for 45 years of my life, I was not exactly living a risk free life concerning natural calamities! In California, we had earthquakes, in Rhode Island, we had snow and ice storms with an occasional hurricane, in Alabama, we had killer tornadoes and in Florida, there was hurricane season every year. I have weathered a few hurricanes in my lifetime in the USA! I was in Florida when Hurricane Andrew totally destroyed Homestead and Florida City.
Typhoons, Earthquakes and Volcanoes are part of the Philippines, however, even the USA is not totally free from natural disasters and calamities, which can be called Widow Makers!
I do not live presently in the Philippines but I have spent a lot of time there. I will be there on December 4th. I am actually physically sick by what I see. I knew when this typhoon was talked about it would be a big big big problem for the Philippines. But I still cannot believe the destruction I am seeing. It is beyond words at times.
The hard part for me is the children, I hate to see anything bad happen to anyone there…but the children. My goodness. The stories and the pictures are so heart breaking.
It is going to take a long time for them to recover from this…physically, economically, and and emotionally. I so much love the Philippines and the people…this is almost unbearable to me.
Gary McMurrain says
Thank you for your heart-felt words and concerns about the Philippines. There are many sad stories about Super Typhoon Yolanda and there are stories about heroes who rise to the occasion and risk their own lives to help others.
In Iloilo, 71 fishermen perished at sea, as they attempted to beat the storm and bring in fish for their families and for others to eat during the storm. During and after all the typhoons, fresh fish is scarce and when you can find it, some vendors gouge the public by charging too much, which is against the law!
The USA and UK have sent large Navy ships to the Philippines, which can provide daily water and hot cooked meals to the storm survivors.
I am glad to see the international community come together in assisting the Philippines put things back together as soon as possible but it will take time for rebuilding and healing.
~ Gary ~
Dale Weber says
I’m pretty numb also. I won’t use too many words, but i watch ABS CBN news here. Their video footage shows more than any news video in the US would be allowed to show. It gets the point across. BUT i’ve also seen some smiles.
Help and relief are getting there now. The runway at the airport has been cleared and US C130 cargo planes are going in and out . A few more days and much more help will be there as Gary said.
I too enjoy the kids here. Really a lot of fun and there’s no shortage of them in the baranagay where i live. Some of the little girls can be very direct sometimes. My family has been here for many years so i also know a lot of the locals. My inlaws have a coffee shop at our house in front and it’s like the early morning McDonald’s liars club. I drink the best fresh roasted coffee around.
What area will you be visiting?
Bobby McMurrain says
Such a sad situation! Many prayers from here went out; even my church bulletin had bold prints to “Pray for the Precious People in the Philippines.” Saw a comparrison of that Super Typhoon, with the size of it, placed on a map of the US & it would stretch from Florida all the way up into New England states; no area can control Mother Nature. God Bless all those there.
Gary McMurrain says
Thank you much for your concern, Bro.
Rufus, in Jacksonville, is raising things there to send to me in our area so I can personally get them into the hands of people who need them in Talisay, north of Bacolod. North Negros Occidental was affected seriously and while only 2 people were killed, more than 11,000 houses were damaged or destroyed! I think the Mayors and the Disaster Relief Councils did an excellent job of getting people out of harms way by setting up many evacuation centers in advance, in Negros Occidental.
In the Iloilo area, there are still locations without power and communication. Roxas City there was hit hard. Sadly to say, some other areas of the Philippines are being overlooked and while they did not suffer as badly as people in Tacloban, their suffering is just as painful.
~ Gary ~
… “Personally, we did not have any damage to our two houses. No one in our family or among our many friends were injured. Our newly planted rice crop was not destroyed and none of our livestock suffered injuries.” …
I was very happy to read the above statement in your article, Gary. I have been concerned about your situation but also very busy trying to get information out of Samar as to the circumstances of Arlene’s family. The news looks grim but little is getting out as the communications is pretty much wiped out.
I believe Lester ? is living in Samar… but have not heard anything from there.
There are no words to express the level of concern of millions around the world for the Philippine people. I am delighted to hear that you and your family were spared any loss.
Take good care of yourselves…
Gary McMurrain says
I am so sorry hearing that you have not been able to hear from Arlene’s family. I know not hearing anything at all is hard on everyone. Many of us are still praying for everyone in the Philippines, both here and abroad.
Yes, Lester lives in Samar but no one has heard from him. That is the bad part, too, without power or cell phone signals, communication is impossible at this time.
Thanks for your concern, Thom, and your well wishes for us here, as it is greatly appreciated.
~ Gary ~
Richard Charrington says
Hi Gary, devastating news and so relieved that you and yours are physically unscathed, although I’m sure that the emotional effects are hard to bear. I wish I was coming over earlier so that I could help out in some way. Also, if you are unable to show me around I will completely understand. If there is anything I can contribute/bring in January, please let me know (baggage size & weight limits allowing!).
All the best to you and everyone in the Philippines.
Gary McMurrain says
Thank you much for your concern and kind words.Our heart goes out to all those who were seriously affected by the typhoon and to all those who suffered irreplaceable losses and personal pain. We are so thankful and blessed that we were not seriously affected by the typhoon in Bacolod and we do not have any family members or friends around the Philippines who were adversely affected.
It is not a problem for me to still show you around in January when you arrive. Bacolod City was back to normal once power was restored two days after the typhoon passed by our area.
Thanks again and I look forward to meeting you.
Have a great day!
~ Gary ~
Ken Hamil says
We are a Fil-Am couple living in San Fernando pampanga. We are interested in taking care of 1, 2, 3 children who lost their parents in this terrible storm. We will provide them foster care and leading to eventual adoption. If you or your readers have any information on this subject, please pass it on to me.
I contacted several individuals and agencies including the Department of Social Welfare, unsuccessfully. Some did not respond; some wanted only money. It appeared that no body is interested in taking care of children in need. These babies/children could die in few weeks or few months without proper nutrition and medical care.
Thanks for your attention.
Gary McMurrain says
Thank you for your kindness in willing to reach out to the surviving children of Super Typhoon Yolanda. To get faster results, I suggest talking to your city government, in particular the mayor’s office, and your mayor can help you speed up the process in caretaking several children. I read where several cities, including Tarlac, have put in to take care of up to 300 children, who lost their parents. Those in the government seem to be able to cut through the red tape in this matter. Employees of DPWH in several areas are also taking care of children and entire familes from Tacloban, at this moment.
I hope this helps and many blessings to you and your family.
~ Gary ~