How to help

Tacloban in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan hit. Credit: Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr.

Note: I will try and update this post as I get new information about fundraisers, relief orgs, etc.

Update: 9:00pm Nov. 13

I learned of two Portland-area support events I thought I’d pass on:

Typhoon Haiyan Candlelight Vigil & Community Briefing
Thursday, November 14
5:30 pm Candlelight Vigil, Skidmore Fountain Plaza
6:00 pm Community Briefing, Mercy Corps Action Center

Fil-Am association of Portland Spaghetti feed Fundraiser
Friday, November 15
6:00 pm Fil-Am Association of Portland, 8917 SE Stark St, Portland

Also, another helpful list on what to donate, this one from the Philippines Red Cross.

_________

I’ve been touched by the number of friends reaching out to me to find out if I have family affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Yes, I do. The areas hardest hit include the place where my mom grew up. But luckily their hometown was protected from the worst effects. I have several close family members still unaccounted for as well as other distant extended family members who are affected. We’re hopeful, but really won’t know until we can hear from them directly. And my family is just one of millions who are experiencing this. My heart has been breaking watching the news coverage.

Here are two recent reports from different mainstream news outlets:

Distress Grows for Philippine Typhoon Victims Who Can’t Get Aid, or Out (New York Times) – also, they have some multimedia extras including photos (which can be difficult to look at) and maps

Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines – a landing page for NPR’s series of reports

Many are trying to figure out how they can help. While I don’t feel it’s my place to answer that (I think it’s a personal decision of where you want to put your effort), I will offer some of the resources I know about.

My parents and their friends in my hometown Cleveland Filipino-American community have been organizing and conducting medical missions in the Philippines for over 30 years through their APPO (Association of Philippine Physicians in Ohio) Foundation. I’ve even been on two of these missions myself. APPO is teaming up with their sister organization Philippine American Society of Ohio, a group I was a member of as I grew up in Cleveland. The folks running these orgs are my titas (aunties) and titos (uncles) and my childhood friends. I chose to donate through them because I know personally that they have on-the-ground contacts and are working hard to figure out the most meaningful way to help.

Here in Portland, progressive groups PCHRP and PSU Kaibigan Alumni Advisory Board have teamed up to raise funds through National Alliance For Filipino Concern (NAFCON).

Just found out that Portland’s Fil-Am Center is hosting a spaghetti fundraising dinner on November 15. Though Filipinos tend to have more than enough food at events, still a good idea to RSVP on their Facebook event page.

I also found this article by Jessica Alexander on Slate helpful, about how sending your old shoes is so NOT helpful. She was an aid worker was in Asia after the tsunami:

After the tsunami, similarly well-intentioned people cleaned out their closets, sending boxes of “any old shoes” and other clothing to the countries. I was there after the tsunami and saw what happened to these clothes: Heaps of them were left lying on the side of the road. Cattle began picking at them and getting sick. Civil servants had to divert their limited time to eliminating the unwanted clothes. Sri Lankans and Indonesians found it degrading to be shipped people’s hand-me-downs. I remember a local colleague sighed as we passed the heaps of clothing on the sides of the road and said “I know people mean well, but we’re not beggars.” Boxes filled with Santa costumes, 4-inch high heels, and cocktail dresses landed in tsunami-affected areas. In some places, open tubes of Neosporin, Preparation H, and Viagra showed up. The aid community has coined a term for these items that get shipped from people’s closets and medicine cabinets as SWEDOW—Stuff We Don’t Want.

So, please leave the victims some dignity and do not send SWEDOW. (My only directive.)

If you’re more of a visual person, the HowStuffWorks folks put together a slideshow on the 10 Worst Things to Donate After a Disaster.

More of a list person?  NBC has a roundup of web links to relief organizations.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s