This blog post is long-delayed but never out of date. It is a post to echo the voice of appreciation from all Filipinos to the kindness and generosity of countless expats and members of the international community who came to the aid of the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. As the extent of destruction emerged in the days following November 8, the outpouring of financial, technical, medical and logistical support from various countries, institutions and individuals was overwhelming and inspiring.
It brought hope where there was once only despair. It encouraged and spurred on a flurry of fundraising events in support of disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts. With winds of over 315 kilometers per hour, Haiyan was the strongest typhoon to have made landfall in decades. The destruction it wrought in the provinces of Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Negros, Capiz, Aklan and Palawan was unprecedented – over 5,000 dead, entire towns and villages flattened and millions of family displaced or left homeless.
But the response from Filipinos abroad and the international community was also unprecedented in scope. Rescue teams from various countries were on the ground in the immediate days after. Private groups and non-governmental organizations rapidly mobilized to bring water, food and relief to typhoon victims especially in hard-hit Tacloban City in Leyte.
My personal fundraising campaign for the Typhoon victims through crowd-sourcing site GoFundMe was likewise very successful, raising some 3,490 euros in two weeks. This came mostly from colleagues, family and friends even all the way from Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the US. Additionally, a personal appeal at our church, the Vienna English Speaking Catholic Community (VESCC) helped to raise almost 1,300 euros for the benefit of the typhoon victims.
Such generosity from friends and even complete strangers is quite touching. It is also a humbling experience.
Much has been said and written about the resilience of the FIlipino people in the face of tragedy and disaster. As we face the challenge of rebuilding lives and communities, we are grateful for the many friends we have worldwide who ready and willing to support us in the difficult task ahead.
A big thank you to all of you wherever you are.