When Typhoon Bopha slammed into the Philippines in December 2012, 6.2 million people felt its wrath. The Category 5 super typhoon caused at least 1,000 deaths, and 840 people remain unaccounted for. Massive damage to coastal communities and plantations left more than a million people without a place to call home.
For those who survive, the struggle to find food and shelter has become top priority each day. Charitable donations of clothing, food, blankets, and personal care items are helping in the short term. Many who lost their homes and livelihoods simply do not have the resources to cope with long-term clean up and recovery.
Even as they mourn their lost loved ones, survivors who depend upon farming, mining, or fishing for income are contending with an inability to make a living now – and for the foreseeable future. Fallen trees and mountains of debris block roadways, making large areas accessible only on foot. Increased travel times make it difficult for relief teams to reach and care for those left injured or homeless.
With its population vulnerable and many medical facilities unable to operate, health officials are monitoring for outbreaks of disease in communities that were previously fairly healthy.
Battered schools are either destroyed or unsafe, leaving children with no place to go and at increased risk of injury and exploitation. Terrorized by the storm and its aftermath, children are showing signs of anxiety, stress, and depression. Child sponsorship charities are working to provide children with the support they need for emotional recovery, before long-term psychological trauma sets in. Getting back to routine is key for children and sponsor a child programmes are designed to get children back into school and into their normal routine as quickly as possible.
When natural disaster strikes, child sponsorship charities help provide safe drinking water, food, shelter, and access to education. There is strength in numbers, so when you sponsor a child, your donation is pooled with others so the child’s whole community can benefit. What helps one helps all.
The power of wind and water should never be underestimated. The full extent of Bopha’s damage will not be fully known for months to come. One thing is certain – it is devastating for the people of the Philippines. The challenges for relief organisations are many. As time marches on and the world turns its attention elsewhere, survivors of Typhoon Bopha are in danger of being forgotten. They still need our help.