Warning: Some images included in this post may be too graphic/disturbing.
My stomach turned when I saw the first images captured to show the devastation of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in the Philippines. My heart hurt when I realised just how much damage and pain another natural disaster has caused the already ailing country of my birth, and still the home of many family members and friends.
The last death count was already close to a hundred. Many have been injured. Nearly half a million people have been displaced.
These are the effects of a month's rainfall that came in just 12 hours that led to the worst floods experienced in Manila and nearby provinces in 40 years.
When I called my mom to check-in on how things are with them, she assured me that her and my two younger siblings are safe. The area where they live just outside Manila has been spared from the floods. So, I breathe with a slight bit of relief.
My mom later tells me in an email that the worst hit are the areas of Marikina, Pasig, Cainta, and Antipolo. I know some friends and family live in those areas. But, I'm not sure who's been affected.
The last time I visited Manila with my family in 2007, I actually lived in Pasig for a couple of weeks. I was told that the area where we stayed at has been hit by the floods.
So, even though I'm thousands of miles away from it all, I still feel the whole thing hitting way too close to home.
That's why I know that I had to write about it. To share with you, and to ask if any if you can help in some way.
The Philippine National Red Cross is one of the major organisations providing aid to those affected by the floods. Wherever you are in the world, you can send your donations to them through this online donations form. Choose "Typhoon Ondoy" in the Project/Activity drop down selection.
Since you can send donations using Philippine Pesos, just a few Australian, Canadian, or US Dollars can go a long way. AU$1, for example, is approximately 40 PHP. And, US$1 is about 47 PHP. So, just a gift of $5 can make a bit of difference.
PNRC's online donation system allows you to send a donation using your credit card.
If you're in the US, and you prefer to send your donations through the American Red Cross, you can do so by calling 1-800-435-7669.
I don't have a lot to give right now, but I thought I'd also offer all profit from any sales from my RedBubble account between now and the whole of October 2009 for this cause.
Also, I decided to start a ChipIn account, in case there are some of you who might wish to send your donations using Paypal instead. If you send it through to this ChipIn account, I'll send the amount to the PNRC (or some other similar organisation) for you.*
*UPDATE: I just found PhilippineAid, a place where you can send donations via Paypal using ChipIn. They also intend to send the amount collected to PNRC. So, I decided that that's a probably better way of doing it instead of starting a separate collection.
I'll post any other relevant updates if necessary.
- Philippine Flood Donations Appeal - From Tourism Philippines
- Philippines Flood Crisis Deepens - BBC Coverage
- Typhoon Ondoy Updates on Twitter - Also contains some useful names and numbers. From Jonas Diego.
- What Ondoy Did to UST - This is how my old university looks like in the flood. I remember what it was like walking there in my white uniform, with water almost up to my waist.
Here's an amateur video footage taken by someone who witnessed the floods in action -
Photo Collage Information: