All posts tagged: typhoon Haiyan

The Pope, the Philippines and a Typhoon

But Rosanna, it’s January,” an American client told me this morning, after his therapy session. “I know,” I agreed, “I’ve lived here most of my life and a typhoon in January? It’s never happened before, as far as I can remember.” As we talked, Typhoon Mekkhala was bearing down on the  Eastern Visayan islands of Samar  and Leyte. In December last year, Super Typhoon Hagupit devastated parts of the island of Samar, and Tacloban City in Leyte was one of the places ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, when more than 7,000 people lost their lives. Earlier in the morning, braving the oncoming typhoon, Pope Francis arrived in Tacloban City,  on the third day of his visit to the Philippines. The Pope celebrated mass at the airport where more than 300,000 people – mostly survivors of Typhoon Haiyan – sat and listened to the Pontiff explain how he felt several days after the typhoon leveled most of  Eastern Visayas: “I wanted to come to be with you. It’s a bit late, I have to say, …

Writing through the Pain

“Rosanna, How are you even able to write and post? No matter how many pictures I see, I know I cannot fathom what you and your country are going through. I pray for you,” a fellow blogger, Nancy, commented after reading a blog post I wrote that was filled with pictures of the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan brought to the third biggest group of islands in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, a super typhoon and one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit land, devastated the Visayas last November 8, 2014. I was at that time participating in NaBloPoMo as part of the Yeah Write group and even I was surprised when I was able to pull through the blogging challenge. I never missed a post. Not only that, I wrote more posts about Haiyan in another blog and in social media. I could not stop writing – it was as though the death of more than 7,000 of my countrymen and the uncertain fate of thousands of people left homeless and traumatized by Haiyan ignited a flame in me …

Emerging from the Shadows: Lessons from the survivors of Haiyan

It is cold and dry here in our part of the Philippines – December thru February are the coldest months in this country, when the amihan or trade winds blow through the archipelago, and the cold northeast wind makes life pleasant especially during the day. But the world’s climate is truly changing, because in the two other main islands of our country, there has been rain, a typhoon and much flooding. The very same areas – central Visayas – that had been devastated by super typhoon Haiyan last November, and Mindanao, which was hit by category 5 typhoon Bopha in December of 2012 had been once again inundated, when they too, should have been enjoying the cool and dry northeast winds. Filipinos in the island of Luzon are enjoying the blessings of the trade winds, while our countrymen down south are continually challenged by nature. It is such a paradox, and a few days ago, I wondered if it was right to enjoy our blessings while others so close to home are having such a …

The World and Beiber Continue to Help

In the Philippines, many companies have decided to forgo their Christmas parties. The amount they would have spent for the festivities are instead going to the people in the provinces hard hit by Typhoon Haiyan last November. This is admirable indeed, and understandable because after all, the people in the Visayas are our countrymen. Aside from the additional help from these local companies, the survivors of Haiyan will also experience the joy of receiving aid from many people who work in German companies that have decided to scrap their Christmas parties and donate the money intended for the parties to the people in the Visayas. Germany’s acting head of mission Joern Rohdesaid said that various German companies operating in the Philippines have provided assistance in kind and through donations from their employees. The German companies have also used their own funds and some have tapped into the resources of their headquarters and global networks. An early Christmas gift for the people of Tacloban was a visit from Justine Beiber, who flew in from Australia. Before …

UNICEF and Rihanna, “There for the Philippines”

Last November 25, UNICEF and Rihanna  launched “There for the Philippines,” Campaign to Help Children Affected by Typhoon Haiyan. “There for the Philippines” will support the immediate and long-term relief efforts for Filipino children and the families who were displaced by Super Typhoon Haiyan. UNICEF Supporter Rihanna helped kick-off the campaign and raise awareness of UNICEF’s relief efforts in the Philippines through social media.The singer, who has held concerts in the Philippines before, also made a $100,000 donation to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Other celebrities who graced the launch were  WNBA’s Skylar Diggins, MLB star Robinson Cano and actress Vanessa Hudgens. Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF said, “We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support shown during this crisis.” She vowed that the organization will continue to support the people of the Visayas in the Philippines: “The effects of the strongest storm to make landfall have been devastating and the rebuilding process will not happen overnight. UNICEF will be there for as long as it takes to …

Remembering Paul Walker

Actor Paul Walker died in a fiery accident while helping raise funds for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The statement on his Facebook page reads: It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. We join the world in mourning the loss of the actor and philanthropist, and we thank him for his efforts in helping our countrymen. May he rest in peace. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Songs for the Philippines

iTunes tweeted, “The music world comes together for Typhoon #Haiyan relief on Songs for the Philippines. http://tw.itunes.com/0As.” Several top artists/groups have contributed songs to the album “Songs for the Philippines,” which is available for download on iTunes. Proceeds from the sale of the 39-track album which cost US$9.99 will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross and will fund relief efforts in the Visayas, in the Philippines, where more than 5,000 people were killed and 670,000 people were displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. The anthology includes songs by top international artists including Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Adele, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, and Madonna. Songs by famous bands like U2, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Fray, Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons, and Kings of Leon are also included in the album. List of Songs: 1. The Beatles – “Across The Universe” (UMG) 2. Bob Dylan – “Shelter From The Storm” (SME) 3. Michael Buble – “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” (WMG 4. U2 – “In A Little While” …

Witness to Courage

As we begin another week, I would like to pause and take this opportunity to pay tribute to our beleaguered countrymen whose lives had been gravely affected by the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the country last November 8. CNN has put together a special documentary entitled, “CNN SPECIAL: WITNESS TO COURAGE.” The half hour documentary has been aired and replayed in Asia several times.  In the documentary, CNN correspondents who covered the typhoon and the aftermath of Haiyan relate their experiences, share their insights and pay tribute to the Filipinos’ courage and sense of humor, which they found extraordinary. Recently, National Geographic published Ker Than’s article entitled, “Photojournalist Captures Resiliency in the Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan: David Guttenfelder documents hope and rebuilding after devastation.” Upon arriving in Tacloban, Guttenfelder reported, “It’s just a complete wasteland. It looks like a nuclear bomb went off and flattened the place. Nobody has power. There were bodies everywhere when I got here—on the road from the airport into town, just body after body.” Kher writes: Another major …

Finding Strength After the Storm -Anderson Cooper

CNN’s Anderson Cooper joined the numerous journalists from all over the world to cover the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan’s devastating spin through the Visayas group of islands in the Philippines last November 8.  We cried for our countrymen who died, and for those who survived but lost family members and everything they owned. This tribute from Anderson Cooper touched the hearts of many Filipinos. Maraming salamat din (thank you too), Mr. Cooper, for recognizing the strength, faith and courage of our suffering countrymen. Foreign broadcasters have repeatedly referred to the Philippines as a poor country. Yet we, the Filipinos, have always been proud of our rich heritage, of the indomitable Filipino spirit. It is our true wealth, something that no one or no catastrophe can take away from us. We can never repay the generosity of people and governments from all over the world.  We hope that the manifestations of courage and strength – the Filipino spirit –  will in some way help pay back the gestures of compassion shown to us. If only for a …

Authors for the Philippines

Originally posted on CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD:
Keris Stainton, friend and money-raiser-extraordinaire, has done it again. In response to the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has left in its wake, Keris has organized Authors for the Philippines, an online auction that hopes to raise money for the British Red Cross’ Typhoon Appeal. The idea is simple, but inspired. Keris has asked authors, agents, editors and all associated with the book world to donate items. These range from signed ARCs of books that aren’t out yet, to manuscript critiques, to signed special editions, to your name in a book, to a night down the pub with authors Andy Stanton and Anthony McGowan (for which bidding has become complex and hilarious, taking place in ‘bidding cartels’). Simply navigate to the post that describes the item you want to bid on, leave your bid in the form of a blog comment and then wait until the auction closes on Wednesday 20th November to see if you’ve won. Winners will be asked to donate the equivalent of their winning bid to the…

Thank You World: From the people of the Philippines

Last November 8, one of the most powerful typhoons to hit the Philippine islands wrecked havoc on the Visayas island group. Days prior to the arrival of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the local governments of the provinces expected to be hit by the typhoon evacuated 125,000 people. Contingency plans and emergency protocols were formulated to deal with the aftermath of the typhoon. But after typhoon Haiyan left, all the preparations and contingency plans were rendered useless. The local government officials and their families, who thought they were safe in their houses were swept away by the storm surge and had to fight for their lives as did thousands of others. Many evacuation centers crumbled and others were inundated with seawater, and many evacuees drowned.  The death toll has not yet been determined, but is expected to reach several thousand and corpses are everywhere, waiting to buried in a mass grave. Relief efforts are challenged by the amount of debris on the roads, and the sheer number of survivors who are in need of basic necessities. The …

Thriving in the Most Unlikely Places

Without any effort from humans, this plant sprouted from a crack between our concrete fence and the floor near our garage.  I have always marveled at how plants can grow in the most unlikely places.  And they don’t just grow – they bloom and multiply. It is past midnight in the Philippines.  I had planned to stay up late to do some work, because we don’t know what tomorrow will be like. I drank two cups of tea to keep me awake and as soon as I finished my second cup, the lights went off…then it came back on…went off…on again and then…it just stayed pitch dark. The rain poured. Yesterday, I wrote in my journal, “Rain in November, God is watering the plants.” The rainy season in the Philippines ends in October. Tonight, after the lights went off and the rain poured, I carefully went about the task of lighting candles around the living room as the other members of the family lit candles in their bedrooms.  I don’t know what was going on …