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  • Super Typhoon Lando Blasts Through the Philippines

    Being in the Philippines during a small, tropical storm was an unpleasant experience, to say the least. That was 10 years ago, and while we were without power for 10 days and running water for just a few, it was nothing compared to what the Philippines gets on a regular basis.

    This weekend, a super typhoon known locally as Lando (Lando System?) barreled its way through the Philippines, killing at least 16, injuring more, and displacing more than 60,000 people. The storm knocked over trees, homes, and power lines, causing power outages in nine provinces.

    Flooded Streets - WWNT Radio via WWNT Radio

    The streets in the Philippines are prone to flooding during short bursts of heavy rain. This storm system brought heavy rain for a long duration. Some homes were flooded up to the rooftops. Many people were in the middle of the harvest when the storm hit, so not only will rebuilding affect their homes, but their livelihoods as well. Flash flooding is feared for the Metro Manila area (which area has about 12 million people in an area the size of New York City).

    Many of the towns North of Manila that were hit by torrential rain were “lulled into complacency” because the storm had move up and away from them, and did not strike those areas with its full power. However, just because the typhoon didn’t hit those areas head on, the rain it produced from even the edges of the typhoon drenched many villages, bringing floods many feet deep.

    The Philippines is one of the most heavy-hit countries in the world when it comes to typhoons. They know very well what these kinds of storms can bring, and yet they still can become complacent. This complacency can be dangerous, especially considering the relative unpredictability of many natural disasters. Even the ones we can track, such as hurricanes, can shift without warning, or bring more rain than anticipated, such as Lando did in the Philippines.

    Sitting on Roof - BBC via BBC

    Being prepared with escape plans, food, water, and communication are all vitally important. But it’s also important to prepare with an expectation that things can go downhill fast. For the people in the Philippines, I admit it is much more difficult for them to prepare for such things than for us. The way their cities and towns are laid out, flooding is a constant problem, and there is almost no way to keep that flood water out of their home. The best they can do is brace for impact and hope for the best.

    Our infrastructure in the United States is better. Water can be soaked up by grass (lawns are virtually non-existent in the Philippines), and our drainage systems work pretty well. Of course, during any form of heavy rain, we may experience backed up drains and sewers. Bracing for storms involves gathering sandbags and other supplies that can help push back the floods.

    Filipinos don’t have that luxury. We do. And we need to make sure we’re using our resources in ways that will protect us. Waiting until the last minute to buy emergency food for an oncoming storm can leave you empty handed. This happens all the time. A storm comes, and grocery store shelves go bare. Finding backup power sources may be more difficult than you think if you wait too long. Water is the same way.

    While my heart goes out to those in the Philippines, my thoughts are also turned to us, here. We need to take the time to prepare before a storm comes our way. And remember, it could be more than just a super typhoon. Tornadoes, earthquakes, or even job loss or accidents could keep you from providing for yourself and your family.

    And so, while the Philippines works on rebuilding after the Lando System blew through, it is my hope that we can take this time to prepare before the next big event comes rushing towards us. And for everyone in the Philippines, I wish you luck and success in your recovery. Kaya ninyo!

     

    What do you do to prepare for disasters? Let us know in the comments!

     

    Click here for more information on hurricane 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

  • Your Efforts Are Making a Difference in the Philippines

    Chalkboard with an image of the Philippine islands and the words "Thank You"

     

    Thank you so much for the efforts you made to help us outfit Charity Vision’s advance team. Those who were already on the ground in the Philippines are setting up their base camp and have connected with a local church so they have a safe “home base” for their operation.

    We delivered the supplies we promised to CharityVision last night, and the remaining members of the advance team (those who weren’t already in the Philippines) will fly out with those supplies on Saturday. Additional contributions that come in today will help to provide even more supplies.  Here is an excerpt from an email sent by one of the group members who is already in the Philippines. We hope it gives you an idea of what they'll be doing:

     

    "Here's the news so far!

    My goal is to have a base camp established and staffed by the time you [the rest of the advance team] arrive in Ormoc. A local church is organizing volunteers to handle facilities, outreach, internal security (along with police), organizing and controlling crowds, [and] sourcing victims to treat. Their women’s group will be in charge of water, cooking, cleaning and assisting with medical triage.

    The goal for those of you who are medical will be to hit the ground running. Those who are logistics or search and rescue will be making sorties into areas that have not had relief to clear roads and bring in those in the worst shape.

    Given the security concerns, my goal is to bring a massive show of relief to the city… We'll create a distribution model for health care and food. In order to receive either they [will] have to have been screened by the local volunteers and given a pass to get into the facility."

     

    You may also be interested to know that the supplies we send with CharityVision will be left behind in the Philippines when their team leaves, so those tools and supplies can continue to benefit the local communities.

    Thank you for your efforts, donations, and purchases—not only are they making this advance team’s medical, logistics, and search efforts possible, but they are facilitating the efforts of the larger group who will follow them to the Philippines shortly!

     

    We also want to give a special shout out to these vendors, who partnered with us to provide many additional supplies to the CharityVision team:

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