Rebuilding the Philippines


Colleen Driscoll comforts fellow Academy friend and Filipino Denny Abraham

Although Typhoon Haiyan plowed through the Philippines a month ago, citizens are still struggling with the devastation. Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as the Filipinos call the super-storm, hit the city of Tacloban the hardest, but many other Filipinos were also affected by the storm.

Around the world, people have banded together to provide help to the Philippines. Academy girls have done their part with a tag day sponsored by the Freshmen Class. Many other Academy girls have family members living in the Philippines affected by the storm.

Junior Ann Marie Houston comments, “Thankfully, we have heard from all of our immediate family and they are okay. I know of others who were not so lucky.” After hearing about the storm, Filipinos all over the world waited desperately for news from their own families. Despite the resistance from the Filipino government, aid is slowly starting to seep into the areas that need help.

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the biggest storms recorded according to USA Today. It is also the third typhoon to hit the Philippines in 2013. Needless to say, the Philippines is still trying to get back on their feet. The people in Tacloban and the surrounding areas have no food, no water, and no shelter. Some have resorted to looting and crime. The death count has reached over 6,000, and many small suburban towns have had to wait weeks to get any help at all.

Through all of this death and destruction, the world has started to come together to boost the Philippines back up. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has compiled a list of organizations, including Catholic Relief Service, Habitat for Humanities International, and several United Nations Funds raising funds to help the Filipinos.

Even a couple of celebrities have jumped on board. Manny Pacquiao, a fellow Filipino, dedicated his most recent win to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Justin Bieber flew over to sing Christmas Carols to the children. Victoria Beckham auctioned off a portion of her personal designer shoes to raise money for the Red Cross. These celebrities and many other volunteers are helping the Filipinos try to rebuild their lives.

Although the Filipinos have gone through so much and have a long road ahead, they are grateful for the help they received and look hopefully to the future.

Penny Tecson, the wife of a mayor in a small town close to Tacloban, remarks on the help their town received, “It was unbelievable. They had no lights and no electric, but they worked so fast. They performed miracles with just an office desk as their operating table.”

Other citizens are looking to rebuild their lives after the disaster. Eduardo Jabulen lost their three young daughters who drowned in the flood. Still, he says, “We will stay in Tacloban and hope to have more children.”

The positivity and courage these Filipino citizens have helped them through so much already. Christmas has always remained an important celebration for all Filipino people. The festivities and decorations have always impressed the world, but, this year, it may be difficult for many Filipino families to enjoy the holidays without homes. Still, many plan to celebrate and stay thankful for their lives. Children playing in the streets don Santa hats and people plan on making traditional Filipino Christmas decorations.

As Christmas approaches, stay thankful for your family and homes and remember those in the Philippines where Christmas will not be so merry this year. Keep them in your prayers and thoughts this Christmas season.