It’s 6:30am, Wednesday, 12 November 2013 and it is a typical beautiful sunny day in the Philippines. But less that 70km north of where I sit at my desk at home is devastation.

On Friday, 8 November, Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda here, with winds over 335kph, left a swath of destruction across the Central Philippines including the North of Cebu City, where I live.

In many areas, 80% of all homes have been destroyed. Cities are ravaged and people are desperate. It isn’t just about the physical destruction to property, it is also about livelihood.

The Central Philippines is one of the poultry production centres of the country, and if reports are correct, this industry, which provided jobs and livelihood for tens and thousands of people has been wiped out. These areas are also rich agricultural areas: mango, coconut, rice and many, many other crops.

Many of these farmers are subsistence farmers, living day to day with what they harvest from their tiny plots of land. They too have been severely affected. These areas of the Philippines, with the exception of Samar, are not usually in the path of the typhoons that pass through the Philippines.

Every time I watch the news, my heart breaks.

If anyone would like to assist, there are three ways to help:

The first is to volunteer time – come to the Philippines and help in the relief operations. It will be a great human experience and I can point people in the right direction and put them in contact with the right organisations. The second is to donate funds. The third is to hope and keep the Philippines and those who were affected close to your hearts, and in your thoughts.

The Filipino is a wonderful resilient person and I have no doubt that within a few days, even now as I sit at my desk, in the face of immense hardship and suffering, the Filipinos affected by this disaster will once again begin to smile and hope – and sing – as they always do.

If you would like to volunteer time, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.has a very well-organised relief goods operation at Casa Gorordo, Cebu City. And if you would like to donate, bank details are below. I am happy to say that as of this morning we have received over Php 300,000 in donations

For good orders sake these are the bank details for local and foreign donations:

Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

Bank: Unionbank of the Philippines.

Peso account number: 0027-8000-3279.

US$ account number: 1327-8000-0852.

Swift code: UBPHPHMM.
All donations will be acknowledged, graciously accepted and greatly appreciated.

Thanks you for your concern. It is really touching and greatly appreciated.

– Corinne Joseph