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You Can Help the Philippines

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Nearly half a million people have been left homeless by the typhoon, like this family from the storm-battered city of Tacloban. (WFP/Praveen Agrawal)

Over half a million people have been left homeless by the typhoon, like this family from the storm-battered city of Tacloban. (WFP/Praveen Agrawal)

It’s critical to build a pipeline of aid to the Philippines, to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further after last week’s massive typhoon. Save the Children’s Cat Carter says, “The lack of shelter, lack of food and bottled water is only making things worse as children suffer under such brutal conditions.”

That is where you come in. Even though reading those details can make you feel helpless, there is something you can do. Whether it’s a fundraiser, a letter, or doing Charity Miles you can help speed relief.

Recently, I caught up with Elizabeth Tromans of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), who is coordinating relief from Manila. Back in 2010, Tromans was a humanitarian hero featured in my global hunger column.

Tromans says it’s essential “to secure funds and make sure our goods are arriving and getting into the hands of those who need it.”

For CRS and other charities to make this happen they need a chain of events from donors thousands of miles away, to logistics and IT staff, to the aid workers themselves. The end result is help for storm victims. So everyone has a part to play to make that happen. If you are reading this you can spread the word and start the life-saving pipeline.

The United Nations says 11.5 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan and 544,606 displaced. Food, clean water, medicine and shelter are desperately needed.

Hunger, malnutrition and disease will escalate among the population unless enough aid arrives in time. The storm’s impact can last long past the event itself.

CRS is helping with two of these vital needs, emergency shelter and water purification. Many people lost their homes to the high winds of the storm. The UN says that “ground water supplies are contaminated in many affected areas. [There is a] need for immediate and on-site water testing and treatment to establish water quality.”

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it will be feeding 2.5 million people, although these estimates can quickly change. WFP has brought high-energy-biscuits and rice to storm victims but so much more needs to be done. The U.S. Food for Peace program has sent more biscuits and rice for WFP to distribute.

UNICEF is setting up child feeding centers where they will be providing Plumpy’Nut, which a doctor called “The Magic Food.” This special peanut paste saves children from potentially deadly malnutrition. So it’s vital that UNICEF have enough funding for a supply of Plumpy’Nut.

What’s important to remember is that aid groups are already stretched thin by prior disasters in the Philippines as well as the war in Syria. They need support as the Philippines emergency response kicks in.

Amid all the devastation is hope. Tromans says,”The Filipino people are so strong and resourceful.”

You can donate to Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, Save the Childrenand many other great organizations.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    The Army Corps of Engineers could provide assistance in clearing away the debris and rebuilding the plumbing and electrical infrastructure. Now is the time to rebuild with solar energy and desalination plants run by solar energy.