News of possibly the strongest storm ever to make landfall has been dominating the news for the last week or so. Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda smashed into the Philippines on November 7 causing widespread devastation. And this, just a few weeks after a major earthquake hit the same area. I have been deeply affected by the images coming out of the country and am sure many of my readers have too.
There are quite a few Filipinos who live and work here at KAUST. Most have been walking around in a state of shock since the event. Some have lost their homes. Some have lost their loved ones. Some… and this may be the hardest… still haven’t heard anything. My heart breaks just thinking of it.
You can help
Locals know best, so I have been talking to different people from the Philippines over the last few days to see how they suggest we can help. Unfortunately there are loads of scammers out there taking advantage of disasters like this – I’m sharing my findings here so you know about some safe places to donate.
Side note: In case you don’t know, I have years of experience working with international NGOs and have also worked specifically in disaster relief.
Some say: donate directly. If you know someone who has lost a home or a loved one, they are probably looking for money to rebuild. This is a very good way to help – a direct donation means 100% of the money will go to someone in need – as long as you trust the person you are giving to.
If you want to make a financial donation but don’t know someone personally affected, or prefer to go through official channels, here are three organizations that my Filipino friends suggested:
Sagip Kapamilya Foundation – A friend of mine told me that the local charity Sagip Kapamilya is the best place to donate. It’s run by a local Filipino media outlet and I’m told the name roughly translates as “Save Our Family”. Their mission is to provide food and non-food relief to affected communities of disasters, as well as engage in rehabilitation and disaster risk reduction projects.
The Philippines Red Cross – The Red Cross is one of the major players in international disaster relief and is always a sure way to make your contribution count. My friend Shai Coggins – a Filipino herself and also NGO Expert – outlines her reasons for donating to them in this blog post. I’m also a bit partial to them as I used to work for the American Red Cross and know firsthand the good work they do.
Catholic Relief Services was also recommended.
For those of you who live at KAUST, there is a collection being organized for items that can help people rebuild their lives. Do you have extra clothes or blankets? Extra food with a long shelf-life? Extra basic household items? My friend Zaldy is collecting relief goods that will be sent thru the Sagip Kapamilya Foundation which I mentioned above. You can contact him at 0551315694 or 0561273491 to arrange a pick-up of your in-kind donation here at KAUST.
UPDATE Nov 13, 2013: CatIan Montiano is also collecting in-kind donations and is specifically seeking clothes for children and adults (used but clean), blankets, and other things that can be useful for evacuees. You can contact her at 8082792/8026772/0544700260 or catherine[dot]montiano[at]kaust.edu.sa.
For those of you outside KAUST, you can also make an in-kind donation via the Sagip Kapamilya Foundation. Send your items to Sagip Kapamilya Warehouse #13 Examiner St. West Triangle Quezon City, Philippines.
Please help if you can. Even a small donation can make a big difference.