The tropical cyclone that rocked Southeast Asia, Typhoon Haiyan, decimated much of the Philippines on Nov. 8 of last year. The force of the storm snapped palm trees in half and swiftly leveled more than one million homes. Five days later, it was recognized that 3,976 people were verified dead, 18,175 were injured, and 1,598 were still missing.
The United States has contributed $414 million, sending marines to help distribute food, transport people to emergency rescue shelters, administer first aid and remove individuals from the wreckage. Also involved were the United Nations humanitarian agencies, which restored emergency telecommunications and brought in tons of fortified biscuits, the Red Cross, which provided meals and relief items, UNICEF, which provided imperative medical and hygiene supplies and the Salvation Army, which provided immediate help to survivors.
Efforts have stalled because of the immense amount of work that must be done to restore the country. Since the typhoon hit, an estimated 4 million people are displaced, 2,000 people are still missing and nearly 10,000 were confirmed dead. Much of the infrastructure, including electricity and foundations, is gone and will take years to rebuild. Most of the country’s cities spend nights without light. Skilled workers and students are finding jobs and transferring their schooling in other places that have remained intact, like Cebu and Manila.
The fastest method of offering aid from the United States is through donation. Many nonprofit humanitarian organizations allocate funding to immediately and efficiently serve the needs of disaster survivors, as well as provide trained volunteers to handle different operations. Most offer ways to donate online, over the phone or via text. The resources sent by all of the organizations in combination have been exhausted by hundreds of metric tons.
Due to the scale of the disaster, all new supplies being shipped are depleted almost immediately as well.
Visiting each organization’s websites will describe ways to volunteer or join the effort overseas. Some may require rigorous preparation, immunizations, training and previous experience before permitting new members to fly to the site.
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