By Ernesto Regis Jr.
MOST us have a routine. We get up, make coffee, have breakfast, get ready for work and off we go. We, all of us, take it for granted that there will be a tomorrow where we will have a roof over our heads, food to eat and a family to hug. Now see yourself in another country like the Philippines, say a small town called MacArthur, Leyte. MacArthur is but one of many towns where life changed forever last Friday, November 8, 2013, and that change came in the form of a monster typhoon. Instead of coffee, hugs and a normal day, the people of MacArthur were ravaged by winds of almost 200 mph and storm surges nearing 20 feet in some areas. For these people, life will never be the same. No food. No water. No roof. And for many, the losses were so much greater, with an estimated 10,000 presumed dead.
Leyte is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Located in the central region of Visayas, it had pristine beaches, beautiful villages and perhaps, one of the friendliest groups of people you will ever meet. Leyte is also known for its part in the history in WWII. General Douglas MacArthur landed and waded into the town of Palo. He used Leyte as a strategic move to stop the invasion of the Japanese militia, thus coining the famous quote “I Shall Return.”
Little did anyone know when Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, approached the Philippines that this storm would become a historical event. Meteorologists around the world may find this to be the strongest typhoon ever recorded. A typhoon is the same as a hurricane in North America. It was recorded as a type 5 super-typhoon. This category 5 typhoon made landfall in the province of Leyte and hit heaviest in Tacloban, Palo, MacArthur, and down to Abuyog at the sustained speed of 195 mph. In comparison, Hurricane Katrina was a category 3 when it made landfall at a sustained speed of 126 mph.
A friend of mine from MacArthur, who is now staying with relatives in another province, described the storm like being in a “washing machine” for 4 hours waiting for it to move away.
Homes have been destroyed, many of the survivors are injured and all are starving. Emergency aid arrives first in larger populated areas, like Tacloban City. However smaller towns like MacArthur and even smaller hamlets within the municipality becomes less important because of access and population.
“Aid for Typhoon Haiyan Victims” (MacArthur, Leyte), is an initiative campaign to recognize the needs for of the smaller towns and villages who may wait endlessly for help to reach them. Our mission is to raise funds that will go directly into these places and help the people. A Facebook page campaign has been launched to reach out to people all over the world. We are hoping that you go and visit our page, Like and Share it so that it will be seen by other Facebook users.
To donate money and help our cause, please visit “Aid for Typhoon Haiyan Victims” Facebook page and click on the “gofundme” link or in the information tab.
After you hug your family and stop at Tim Horton’s on the way to work, please think about your sharing your good fortune with those whose lives have been devastated in places like MacArthur, Leyte. What would you do if your entire life was thrown into a washing machine?
So this holiday season, please remember also the ones that are struggling to get back on their feet. We need your help and the only way we can bring our aid is by donating to “Aid for Typhoon Haiyan Victims.” All proceeds go towards the delivery and handling of the donations. Thank you for your support, and Happy Holidays.