An estimated 10,000 people are dead four days after Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, tore a 195 mph trail of destruction through the Philippines. The typhoon has been described as the strongest on record, with gusts up to 235 mph and waves as high as 15-feet swept ashore.
Yesterday, delegate from the Philippines Naderev "Yeb" Sano delivered a speech to his fellow U.N. climate talks negotiators in Warsaw, describing what was left, including half a million people now homeless:
Up to this hour, we remain uncertain as to the full extent of the devastation, as information trickles in in an agonizingly slow manner because electricity lines and communication lines have been cut off and may take a while before these are restored. The initial assessment show that Haiyan left a wake of massive devastation that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific, affecting 2/3 of the Philippines, with about half a million people now rendered homeless, and with scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of a tsunami, with a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies.
Sano went on to talk about his own brother, who had gone without food for three days while gathering bodies of the dead, and implored the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to take swift action before super typhoons "are a way of life."
While the U.N. addresses policy, there's still much individuals can do in the coming days, weeks, and months to provide aid to the survivors who desperately need it. Below are some ways to help.
- United Nations World Food Programme (wfp.org/typhoon): The UNWFP is sending 44 tons of high-energy biscuits to Tacloban, one of the areas most devastated by the Typhoon in the eastern Leyte province. To donate $10, text AID to 27722, or donate online.
- Philippine Red Cross (www.redcross.org.ph): The Philippine Red Cross has already deployed assessment and rescue teams to the storm-ravaged Samar, Leyte, and Capiz provinces. The PRC also keeps a running list of relief updates on its homepage, and currently, the organization is serving hot meals and providing shelter to refugees.
- International Rescue Committee (www.rescue.org): The IRC, one of the most reputable, non-denominational humanitarian organizations in the world, has also deployed an emergency team and is running a donation drive through its website. You can follow aid update tweets here.
- Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org): Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontiers, is initially providing badly needed medical aid in Leyte, where many medical facilities have been destroyed. The team has been to Cebu, the Philippines' second largest city, and will be deploying an additional 50 personnel and 329 metric tons of medical and relief items in the coming days.
- The United Nations Children's Fund (www.unicef.org): UNICEF estimates that up to four million children may have been affected by the typhoon, and has organized food, water, and health supplies for 3,000 families. The organization will focus on the devastated Tacloban area, and will airlift $1.3 million of additional supplies for 10,000 families from Copenhagen. Donate online or text RELIEF to 864233 for a $10 donation.
- Google has also set up a crisis response map and a person finder. If you have information about, or are looking for a survivor displaced by the storm, head here.
- The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (www.apwld.org): The APWLD is a leading feminist humanitarian organization representing 180 groups from 25 countries across the region. They've put out a call for financial donations to help victims of the typhoon, which you can send through Paypal here.
Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., has also emphasized protecting women and children from violence in the aftermath of the storm. "International relief agencies and government officials have a moral obligation not only to ensure that aid is being delivered, but also that measures are undertaken right away to prevent gender-based violence," she said in a statement.
You can consider any of these options to help or leave other good resources in the comments.
[Image: Flickr user Dave]