Sunday, November 17, 2013

Super typhoon Haiyan: Stories of Loss, Survival, and Unity

It's heartbreaking seeing all the pictures and videos of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. These people not only lost their houses, personal belongings, things that they all worked for, but they also lost their loved ones. It's one thing losing a property. But nothing compares to losing a mother, father, grandparent, brother, or a sister. For the ones left, for the survivors, life will never be the same again. The stories of loss will forever linger each passing day.

For those who have survived, they now have to face the aftermath of the storm which is rather more difficult. They now have to continue living but without food, water, shelter, and money. Well, even if they have money, there's not much to buy really. It's hard and it's getting harder and harder when you see all the dead bodies of your neighbors. In a place where things were turned upside down, the only thing left is the will and the courage to continue living. It's just sad that some people resort to looting and taking advantage of what was left. Call it survival of the fittest but it feels so wrong that people are losing their morale just to live.

It's just a sad, sad picture. But looking at the other side of the spectrum, this tragedy has also brought unity among the nations of the world. Unity to help those in need. Days after the storm, international relief aids are pouring in the Philippines. The European Union and its member states, USA, Japan, South Korea, China, are all sending relief efforts, grant aids, and humanitarian assistance. It's just heartwarming. It's good to know that in the middle of this tragedy, the world becomes one in helping the victims.

The government of the Philippines is also doing its role. Though there maybe some issues, such as the slow deployment of relief goods, politics and rivalries, finger pointing of some people to those who they feel are at fault, I hope that the Philippine politicians and leaders would set aside personal motives and  focus on helping the victims instead. The last thing that we need are people who have ulterior motives, who are just using this situation to make their names shine on the next elections. Please lang, mahiya naman kayo. Respeto naman sa mga biktima.

And of course, we should not also forget the organizations and individuals who are doing their part in helping the victims, including doctors, soldiers, police men, news reporters, and voluntary workers. I've seen a lot of stories in the news, an old Filipino lady offering a pack of opened milk, she's offering it even though it's already opened because that's the only thing that she has; a Japanese boy donating his savings; people volunteering in packing of goods until late at night; people writing inspiring messages on the cans of sardines; and so much more.

It's a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives. It's a tragedy that ripped people of what they have. It's a tragedy that will never be forgotten. But it's also a tragedy that brings humanity into one.

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