Our hearts go out to those who are waiting for word about family and friends whose lives have been affected by the massive typhoon that struck the Philippines on Friday.
Although DeKalb is 8,000 miles from the Philippines, the disaster has touched people around the world, including here in our communities. There are people in our community who are worried for the safety of their family members. The storm caused so much damage to communications systems and homes that they are having a difficult time contacting them.
The scale of the disaster is staggering. The Associated Press reports that 600,000 people have been displaced – about as many as the entire city of Milwaukee. Many of them have lost their homes and lack reliable access to food and clean water. Doctors need medical supplies, and travel is difficult.
The official death toll is more than 2,300. Most of those who died lived on the islands of Leyte and Samar.
This storm was one of the biggest ever – larger and more powerful than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The United States is among the countries that have stepped up to help – U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy has said that the country’s entire Pacific Command will respond to the crisis, and warships already are in route to the country.
But we the people can help in other ways. A multitude of credible nonprofit organizations are accepting donations for the relief effort:
• The U.S. State Department is cooperating with the Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief Fund, established by the mGive Foundation. Cellphone owners can make a tax-deductible $10 donation by texting “AID” to 80108.
• The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross both are accepting donations online through their websites.
• Humanitarian organizations including Oxfam, Caritas Manila, Catholic Charities, Doctors Without Borders and others also are accepting donations.
Local Filipinos whose families have been affected by the tragedy also want to raise funds to help and are working to organize a fundraising event soon.
We support their efforts and hope for the best for them and their families in light of this tragedy.