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West Volusians can help, too
By Pat Andrews
posted Nov 14, 2013 - 4:26:36pm
Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda, struck the island nation of the Philippines Nov. 8. A typhoon is a Pacific version of a hurricane.
Scientists are now estimating Haiyan could have struck the Philippines with the same force as Hurricane Camille, which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 1969 with record winds of 190 mph, National Public Radio reported.
Haiyan was a monster-sized storm, about five times the size of Camille. It washed away buildings and flooded cities like Tacloban, on the island of Leyte, into near obliteration with a 13-foot storm surge. At least 660,000 people have been displaced.
The Philippines are devastated. There's no sanitation, no power, no water, no food. Around 1,000 were confirmed dead Nov. 12, and the death toll may reach 10,000.
The United States, with a large military presence in and near the Philippines, rushed to assist stricken survivors and find the dead. The U.S. Navy carrier the USS George Washington and its Carrier Strike Group arrived at the Philippines today, Thursday, Nov. 14, to deliver medical supplies, water and other critical materials.
"The George Washington medical department is capable of providing medical guidance to those on shore to prevent the spread of diseases; they can also provide some supplies and services such as surgeon and primary care," according to a U.S. Navy news released by Mass Communication specialist Seaman Liam Kennedy.
Contagion will be a critical problem in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila immediately committed $100,000 for relief efforts, while representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development are monitoring and assessing damage — and getting in supplies.
The United Nations is tapping its emergency relief fund for $25 million to help, while the United Kingdom is deploying a warship and donating around $16 million in assistance. Other countries are helping.
Humanitarian organizations are rushing to assist, as well, and they welcome donations. West Volusians are known for having a heart and helping hands, and many may want to help with a donation.
Here are websites of some recognized groups working in the Philippines:
• International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies — www.ifrc.org
• OxFam America – WWW.oxfamamerica.org/haiyan
• UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) — which says that up to 4 million children could be affected by the storm — www.unicef.org.
• Doctors Without Borders, whose emergency teams arrived in the Philippines Nov. 9 — www.doctorswithoutborders.org
Many churches are organizing relief as well; check with your local congregation.
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