LEYTE, Philippines- On Friday November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan swarmed the Philippines making history as the most powerful storm to ever hit the region. Typhoon Haiyan has devastated 70 to 80% of buildings and houses along the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar displacing at least 600,000 people from their homes and damaging approximately 90% of housing in the area. In the wake of the storm it is estimated that 9.5 million people are being affected by Typhoon Haiyan and approximately 4 million of those people are presumed to be children. It is also estimated that 10,000 people may have died during and after the storm.
At the news of this, UNICEF is rushing emergency supplies to those affected by airlifting $1.3 million worth of supplies to over 10,000 families. These supplies include water purification tablets, medical kits, health kits, soaps, tarpaulins and other nutrient supplements.
Other organizations and groups within the U.S are also rising to the occasion by giving what aid they can in order to provide relief for those in need. As of November 10, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) have teamed up to donate $250,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF which will provide aid to 3,000 families in the affected areas. Head Coach Erik Spoelstra from the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat basketball team will also be appearing in a UNICEF Public Service Announcement to help raise additional funds for the cause.
Currently the United States Government has shipped products including plastic sheeting, soap, toothbrushes, toilet paper and other supplies to affected people in the region. USAID will also be sending 55 metric tons of food including nutritious bars and paste in an effort to nourish approximately 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for around 4 to 5 days. In addition to supplying relief, USAID has also developed a Disaster Assistance Response Team which has arrived in Leyte and will be working with the U.S Department of Defense to airlift emergency supplies and to areas amended by the storm.
There are a number of other organizations doubling down their efforts to send aid and help as fast and efficiently as possible. The American Red Cross has started a family tracing program where people can start a tracking case for unaccounted or missing loved ones as well as accepting donations through their website. The World Food Programme, a United Nations organization, says it will be sending more than 40 tons of high energy biscuits to the Filipino government. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has also launched a $10 million appeal to provide relief to affected Filipinos as well as sending a responsive emergency team to Manila.
World Vision is yet another organization that will be providing food and water to people in evacuation shelters while also gathering other resources to assist 1.2 million people. Other organizations deploying emergency relief include Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Habitat for Humanity and Operation USA.
– Jeffrey Scott Haley