Tag Archives: philippines

  • When Disaster Strikes and You Are Not Ready: Lessons from the Philippines

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    In the Philippines, power and running water can be gone at the drop of a hat. Trust me, I know from experience. One moment you’re walking down the street under the street lights, the next…darkness. It makes for quite the dangerous walk, considering all the deep holes in the sidewalks (fortunately, I only fell in one hole my entire time there). Having lived in the Philippines for a couple years, I’ve experienced all kinds of things that really opened my eyes to why we prepare for emergencies. One event in particular stands out in my mind.


    The Tropical Storm

    Malaya 2-Rice on RoadIn the fall of 2006, I was living in a small town in the province of Rizal. A single road splits the town in half. On either side of the road, there are a few smaller side streets. A large lake is less than a mile West of the main road. Mountains are just to the East, just after the terraces of rice paddies. It is a rural town, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.


    Malaya-PalayanOne of the downsides to beautiful, rural living, however, is that when a tropical storm comes through, there isn’t much to stop it from wreaking havoc. That November, we were hit by a powerful tropical storm. It knocked out our power and stopped our already unreliable running water.

    We had some backup water, but not much. We couldn’t shower, and our dirty laundry just remained dirty. What else could we do? After just two days the water was back on (hurray!), so we had our showers back and our laundry cleaned, and once again we could run our water through our filters for consumption. The power, however, remained off.

    The Philippines is a hot, humid place, which makes for very unpleasant nights without power. The bedroom in which I slept had no window, and there was only one window in the front room. I moved My bed out there and hoped for a little breeze. Because the power was out, our electric fans were useless. The days were hot, and the nights somehow hotter. What I would have given for some electricity!

    After ten days of sleeping in a hot, stuffy room, the power was finally restored, and while it was still hotter than the sun, having that breeze move across my face while I slept felt – if just for a moment – like the cold, arctic wind. A little electricity can work wonders.

    Unfortunately, all the food in the fridge went bad. Instead of keeping food for days before cooking it, we had to buy food the day we wanted to eat it. Nothing would keep. Fishermen were giving their fish away for free because if they didn’t, it would just go bad.

    A bamboo home near a rice field behind our house was completely washed away by the storm. We knew that family well, and while we were happy that everyone was safe, we were also very sorrowful for their loss. Oddly enough, their neighbor’s home was hardly damaged.

    Even though the storm was too weak to be a hurricane, it still created quite a mess. Streets flooded into homes, tree limbs littered the ground, blocking the road, and damaging property. Food and clean water was in short supply. Cleanup took quite some time.


    Lessons Learned

    Malaya 2-Kitchen We had to collect our water in a bucket, then pump that water through a filter before we could drink it.

    While the experience was less than desirable, it showed how we can be prepared. More than ever, the water filter we used was a life saver. Of course, we always used it, because water in the Philippines just isn’t safe without it. However, after the storm caused floods and stirred the pot, so to speak, the water was even less safe than before. Having a water filter for when the water stops running is, in my opinion, one of the greatest resources you can have.

    Another hot commodity was electricity. Without a way to stay cool, sleep was more than just difficult – it was nearly impossible. I would fall asleep fanning my face with some sort of paper or cardboard, then wake up with a start when the hot, humid air began to suffocate me again. If your power goes out during a hot summer (or a cold winter, for that matter), having a way to stay cool (or warm) can make life a whole lot more bearable.

    Having no power was a pain for more than just sleeping. Not being able to keep food long term was difficult at best. By having long-term food storage, losing power won’t affect your ability to eat. Having extra food on hand would have been a huge benefit to us during this emergency.

    You will never know the extent of damage a disaster will cause until it actually happens. The Philippines is prone to huge typhoons, so we were lucky this was just a little guy. Still, we were affected for over a week without certain things that here in America we tend to take for granted.


    Before the next disaster comes to your neck of the woods, I urge you to prepare your home and family for any scenario. Know the disasters that are prone to your region and prepare accordingly. And if, after a disaster, it turns out you over prepared, then that’s far better than the alternative. I would much rather be over prepared than underprepared.


    Have you ever been left without power or water following a disaster? What did you do?



    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: tropical storm, not prepared, philippines, power, water, disaster

  • "Build Back Better": a Typhoon Haiyan Update

    When Typhoon Haiyan first set down in the Philippines last November, Emergency Essentials worked with disaster relief organization CharityVision to provide relief to those affected by the severe natural disaster. We sent supplies donated through your purchases and by our generous vendors, and we were able to outfit a great team. CharityVision recently sent us an update on the progress of their relief efforts, along with a few photos that illustrate how your donations have helped those in need.

    Those affected by Typhoon Haiyan continue to face the aftermath of the destructive storm

    A volunteer and children from the Philippines using the Wavelength Emergency Radio

    CharityVision has quite a few projects underway to help the long-term recovery and reconstruction of the area. They’re working to build a larger reserve of medical supplies and to set up a modular hospital facility. They also plan to provide shelter and power to families, hold gardening classes to teach self-reliance, and offer additional services to help  those in need. Each of these projects is possible because of the generous donations CharityVision has received from communities and companies around the world.

    As CharityVision works to "Build Back Better", those affected by Typhoon Haiyan strive to get their lives back.

    Although injured, refugees from Typhoon Haiyan smile as they plan to restart their lives

    One of CharityVision’s major goals is creating projects that will better the living conditions in the affected areas for those who saw their lives turned upside down by the typhoon. All of these projects are to help restore jobs and offer employee growth to those working in those jobs. CharityVision seeks to “Build Back Better”.

     “We view the reconstruction as an opportunity to build back better,” CharityVision posted on their new Facebook page Action Humanitarian which focuses on their efforts in rebuilding the Philippines. “Our current plans include structures that will withstand future storms to avoid the repetitious cycle of rebuilding following destruction.” They go on to say that their building plans will provide added protective elements over previous building styles without adding extra cost or skilled labor.

    Amongst the chaos and ruin that Haiyan caused, an additional issue has appeared: how does the country keep certain areas of the country occupied when so much of it is desolate and destroyed? Despite the international relief efforts aimed at the Philippines, the quality of life is dwindling in areas where lack of power caused by the typhoon creates a lack of commerce leading to a lack of jobs. Talented workers and students are leaving certain areas and moving to other locations for work. Learn more about the quality of life in the Philippines from the New York Times article “Months After Typhoon, Philippine City Suffers From an Exodus of Jobs

    Refugees from Typhoon Haiyan still feel the affects of the destructive storm

    Princeton Tec headlamps prep victims of Typhoon Haiyan for night with white ultrabright light

    As you can see, natural disasters can still have effects long after the storm has passed through making it even more important to prepare yourself. In the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan cased months of difficult—and it isn’t over yet. Get started today on your own preparedness plans so you can be as resilient as possible if a disaster strikes.

    Check out the following articles to help you develop a valuable skill set that will help you survive in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

    Preparing by Developing your Skills

    How to Build a Fire

    First Aid for Wounds

    Emergency Shelter




    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Typhoon Haiyan, philippines, survival gear, natural disaster, emergency preparedness, Survival, preparedness

  • Update from the Philippines

    Philippines Update

    In November, Emergency Essentials worked with CharityVision to send supplies to the Philippines to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan after it ripped through their country. After gathering supplies, fourteen members of CharityVision flew down mid-November to bring a spark of hope to the people in Leyte.

    Many of the volunteers working with CharityVision already spoke the local languages (having served church-related missions to the area) and had medical backgrounds such as emergency room doctors and nurses, physician assistants, medical doctors, or rescue professionals. Once they arrived, volunteers immediately worked to provide medical attention to people of all ages and to clear roads of downed trees and other debris.

    When reflecting on the team’s efforts in the Philippines, Tom Aguilar of Omnimed (another Utah company sponsoring the effort) said, “This CharityVision advance team [is] completely self-contained and equipped. They each hand-carried 150 pounds of every imaginable form of medicines and supplies, tools, and solar equipment . . .”

     Philippines Update: CharityVision's efforts

    Despite the efforts of CharityVision and other volunteers, the conditions of the country are still bleak with destruction as thousands of homeless refugees seek food and clean water. However, volunteer and locals alike are working to rebuild homes, and lives, within the destroyed community.

     Philippines Update: Charity Vision using the Katadyn Water Filter to purify water supplies

    CharityVision continues to send groups roughly every 10 days, focusing more on reconstruction than medical care although they still play an important role in helping the people. In January, another group will head over to help rebuild the infrastructure of the health system and provide additional relief work, according to Jon Woozley, one of the volunteers of CharityVision.

    To read the rest of how CharityVision is working to provide relief to those in the Philippines, check out their article: http://globalgoods.com/yolanda11-20.html

    As we remember those still experiencing the aftermath of this natural disaster, let’s not forget the power of community involvement and volunteer efforts in giving aid.  There are many good, reputable organizations still accepting donations to help in the Philippines. We encourage you to donate if you are able.

    For more information on how to prepare and help others to survive through natural disasters like this, check out our Insight Articles to make sure you know what to do if one strikes in your area:

    Hurricane Preparedness

    Avalanche Safety

    What to Do Before, During, and After a Flood

    Earthquake Preparedness

    Preparing for a Tornado

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Typhoon Haiyan, philippines, typhoon, Relief Efforts, Survival, preparedness

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