As everyone is already well aware, the Philippines last week fell victim to one of the most violent storms ever recorded. To put it in context, Typhoon Haiyan is the size of Germany and is estimated to have been 3.5 times more powerful than Hurricane Katrina.
It hit vast swathes of the central Philippines and has left a trail of devastation. Over 10,000 people are estimated dead.
The carnage is immense, and all the more heart-breaking as the victims, once more, are the poorest and most vulnerable communities.
Over the last year I have been working in the Philippines with an amazing grassroots, faith-driven organization, Gawad Kalinga (GK), which has built over 2,000 amazing communities among the very poorest people. GK’s slogan is “Land for the landless, home for the homeless, food for the hungry”.
Tragically, a large number of these communities have been extensively damaged by the typhoon. Since the storm struck GK is doing its best to reach these and other affected areas. Of course the challenge is almost overwhelming – but GK has a huge volunteer base on the ground of over 100,000 activists so they are deeply embedded in the communities most affected.
Of course, we will hear a lot of calls for help over the coming days and weeks, and there are many ways in which our resources and assistance is needed. However, by donating to GK, the money will directly reach an incredibly committed, faith-driven team of volunteers, who already have a massive footprint on the ground, and who intend to stay there not only in the short term, but in the months and years ahead.
I can personally vouch for them because I have just spent the last year writing a book on GK and their work. I have seen first hand the amazing work they do to build holistic, empowered communities which don’t just bring short-term relief but which work towards longer-term sustainable communities. In this respect I am sure GK will have an important role to play in the long-term rebuilding the Philippines needs.
How to give
If anyone is in a position to offer financial help, this would be hugely appreciated. A donation of just 5 dollars is enough to buy one disaster relief pack, which can provide vital short term relief.
You can donate here via GK’s website (1,000 pesos = approx 14 pounds)
As they say in GK, “Walang Iwanan!” which means ‘Lets leave no one behind!’
All help will be hugely appreciated.