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Typhoon Haiyan is said to be the strongest typhoon to ever occur in the Philippines; it was at least three times more forceful than Hurricane Katrina. With a death toll at already 1200 people, officials expect the number to rise even more. Deaths still even occurred in the evacuation centers, that held around 700,000 people; proving that nothing can stop the storm.

 Many of the Philippines islands became disconnected as a result of phone and cell services being cut and the radio are down. (CNN)

According to my cousin, Janelle who lives in the Bataan province, she quotes, “Yes, we’re affected. Bataan was in Signal #2 yesterday. But it’s not like the ones in the news. Those were in the Visayas area, which had Signal #4. It rains for only a couple of minutes and it’s not that hard. No floods either. But the winds are slightly strong. And there’s brownout of 4 hours last night.”


The news of the devastation in the Philippines leaves me on a sad chord. Majority of my family and myself originated from the Philippines. At the age of three, I left with my mom and dad to live in the States, but we have visited the islands up to four times already.


My mom shared a few stories about when she was growing up in the Philippines. She told me it was difficult. Floods were a regular occurrence and unavoidable due to heavy rain. When floods happen, students and adults still have to go to school or work. They struggle to reach their destination for they are forced to walk in the flood.

Before my grandfather became disabled, he would carry my older cousins on his back to school during a flood, allowing my cousins to avoid getting dirty and wet. Burnouts, stealing, lack of funds, and shortage of water are other issues that repeatedly happen to Filipino homes.

According to Huffington Post, it was global warming that has Typhoon Haiyan. The sea level was rising as a result, which created the beginnings of a storm. The warm water of the ocean, powerful winds, and moisture in the air furthered the development in the storm. The Philippines’ low areas served as a disadvantage as it produced more of a risk.

What could have depleted the storm was if it had met with the cooler aspects of the ocean. Unfortunately, the speed and direction that Typhoon Haiyan had prevented it from reaching the cool areas. This was suggested in an email by Chia-Ying Lee who works as a researcher at Columbia University. (Huffington)

Despite these challenges and hardships, Filipinos remain to stay positive and hopeful to the future. In the midst of this current tragedy, they cling onto the support and love they receive from their family and friends. My cousin, Jasmine, quotes, “After a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the strongest typhoon this year hits the philippines. It breaks my heart to watch our kababayans ‘our people’ struggle with the effects of the typhoon. A lot of people died and houses were destroyed. but nothing of these broke the filipino spirit and faith. I believe that we can stand up again through prayers and by helping one another.”

 However, they need desperate help to recover from the damage this typhoon left them with. Hope and faith will get them far but they still need immediate actions from those who watch the news in the safety of their homes.

Here’s how you can help:

World Food Programme

WFP has allocated an immediate $2 million for Haiyan relief, with a greater appeal pending as needs become apparent. The UN organization is sending 40 metric tons of fortified biscuits in the immediate aftermath, as well as working with the government to restore emergency telecommunications in the area. Americans can text the word AID to 27722 to donate $10 or give online.

Red Cross

Emergency responders and volunteers throughout the Philippines are providing meals and relief items. Already, thousands of hot meals have been provided to survivors. Red Cross volunteers and staff also helped deliver preliminary emergency warnings and safety tips. Give by donating online or mailing a check to your local American Red Cross chapter.

The Philippine Red Cross has mobilized its 100 local outposts to help with relief efforts.


The relief organization is sending medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. AmeriCares is also giving funds to local organizations to purchase supplies.

World Vision

The organization is providing food, water and hygiene kits at the evacuation centers. World Vision was also still actively responding to last month’s earthquake in Bohol, which luckily was not struck by the eye of the storm.


ShelterBoxprovides families with a survival kit that includes a tent and other essential items while they are displaced or homeless.


Anticipating that children will likely be among the worst affected by the typhoon, UNICEF is working on getting essential medicines, nutrition supplies, safe water and hygiene supplies to children and families in the area.

Salvation Army

100 percent of all disaster donations will be used for relief efforts and “to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.” Text TYPHOON to 80888 to Donate $10 or give online. (Huffington)


Catholic Relief Services is accepting donations on its website, emergencies.crs.org, as it begins moving supplies and staff to respond to the typhoon. (Nola)


The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun collecting donations for relief efforts. To contribute, go to jdc.org or call 212-687-6200. (Nola)

Website where you can send donations: http://care.org/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan


Kirill Volkov (pictured below) was an iCrew Member at Hilltop High during 2002-3.  He came to Hilltop as a foreign exchange student hosted by Dirk Harman.   Kirill emigrated to New Zealand, completed his education and is currently the Emergency Management Advisor, Business and Development for the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO)

Be Ready to Get Through a Quake

30 July 2013

Wellington got through a big quake on Sunday 21 July – and it was a timely reminder to check we’re all ready to get through a natural disaster.

Water tank.

The water tank holds 200 litres


The way the city’s buildings and infrastructure coped with the recent quake shows we are making progress and are in good shape to face emergency challenges in these areas.

The City Council has invested hundreds of millions of dollars on quake-strengthening our infrastructure over the past two decades.

Despite the size of this quake – and how frightening it was for many people – we’re all aware that Wellington still faces the prospect of the ‘big one’. A quake larger than the one on 21 July, or that’s centred closer to the city or at a shallower depth, will cause a great deal more damage.

The Council’s Civil Defence Controller, Stavros Michael, says this reminder of the ‘big one’ has prompted many people to reassess their preparedness at home and at work. “If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to make sure you’re ready to get through.

“Everyone should have a home emergency kit and three days’ worth of water for the whole family – backed up by a family emergency plan.”

For more about how you can prepare, visit:
Get Ready Get Thru

In the event of a major emergency, water supply could be affected for weeks or even months.

Our Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) has organised the availability of an affordable water tank that can attach to your house and collect rain water.

Stavros says the tank, which holds 200 litres but can fit on the backseat of a car, comes with all the attachments and can be installed in less than 30 minutes.

“These tanks can greatly enhance your family’s drinking water supply in an emergency,” Stavros says.

The tank can be used to collect rain water from your roof although it is recommended that you boil the water before drinking. The tanks can also be used as a back-up water supply for gardens during droughts.

WREMO worked with a local supplier to make the tanks available for $105, and they can be purchased from the Council service centre on Wakefield Street, as well as other councils across the region. Comparable tanks of this size can retail for $250.

Grab&Go kits and smaller water containers are also for sale at our service centre.

Other things to think about include:

  • an emergency kit at work – this should include a pair of good walking shoes, because there could be a long walk home if the trains are out and the roads are blocked to traffic
  • signing up to trusted sources of information – including WREMO’s Facebook page:
    WREMO – Facebook
  • having your house quake-checked:
    Building Safety in an Earthquake –  Quakecheck Home Assessment Service
  • training as a volunteer – for more information, contact WREMO on (04) 460 0650 or see:
    Emergency Management – Volunteer
  • personal emergency skills training at WREMO – a free, one day programme that could help you save lives. For more information, see:
    Personal Emergency Skills Training
  • introducing yourself to your neighbours, if you haven’t done so already – you may need to rely on each other after a natural disaster.