Filipino native, NIU employee: Please help

Rey Ty

Rey Ty

by Rey Ty

I was born and raised in Manila.

My dad is from Fujian, China. My mom is from Leyte. All of my maternal relatives are from Leyte. Our hometown is Babatngon, Leyte, a 30-minute drive from Tacloban, the capital of Leyte, hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines), the most powerful storm in recent recorded history.

My heart goes out to all the victims and survivors in Leyte and all parts of the Philippines who were adversely affected by the super typhoon. I am still not able to establish contact directly with any of my relatives in Leyte. As of this writing, I learned from a nephew who resides in Cebu (another island) that his brother is OK in Tacloban, but he has no word about the other members of his family. He is traveling to Tacloban to bring food and medicine.

There is a direct link between the Philippines and the United States. The Leyte Landing Memorial commemorates the landing of Gen. Douglas McArthur in Leyte when he returned to fight against the Japanese Imperial Army.

On the one hand, Tacloban, Leyte is the hometown of the extravagant Imelda Romualdez-Marcos. On the other hand, Leyte is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. The gap between the rich and the poor is wide.

Ten thousand are feared dead. Six hundred thousand are displaced. Many are missing, including my own relatives. Many have no access to clean water, food, medicine and shelter. Many are sick and injured. Hospitals are overwhelmed. Tacloban is in the grip of a health crisis. Many houses and buildings were flattened rendering many temporarily homeless now. Climate change is real. Meteorologists forecast that storms of categories 5 and 6 will increase.

Map of the PhilippinesWhat can be done?

Relief and rehabilitation will be a long process and take at least six months. Survivors appeal for water and food. Most adversely affected and vulnerable are the poorest of the poor. Logistics are problematic. Emergency response is slow.

I appeal to you to send in monetary donations to humanitarian aid organizations of your choice, such as AmeriCares, the American Red Cross, CARE, Catholic Relief Service, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Oxfam, Philippine Red Cross, Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, UNICEF, World Food Program and World Vision. No amount is too small.

Here are some links:

(Editor’s note: Monetary donations also are being accepted at the Anthropology Museum and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.)

Unless you will be going to the Philippines and accompanying your relief goods, do not send food, clothing, medicine, etc., as there will be problems in shipping, processing and delivery. Here’s a good article that explains why not to send things.

The Voices section of NIU Today features opinions and perspectives from across campus. Rey Ty is training coordinator in the NIU International Training Office.

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