The latest typhoon to ravage the Philippines has left cities and countless lives destroyed in its path. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons to make landfall in history, has taken thousands of lives and left millions displaced and desperate for aid.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, upon visiting the devastated city of Tacloban, said the situation was so desperate that residents have been left without food or fresh water for days. While emergency government and international aid is being delivered, many in cities like Tacloban are still isolated and are unable to receive aid. With demand for aid outstripping supply by a long margin, the tragedy that has occurred is far from over.
Because of our work at RIJ, we recognize many of the brutal struggles that millions of Filipino people must now face. Displacement often comes quickly and unexpectedly, and its impact can persist long after disaster or conflict strikes. As Haiyan has shown, the struggle for basic needs like water and shelter can last weeks or longer. Unfortunately the struggle to rebuild lives and restore dignity unfortunately takes much longer.
Refugees International Japan’s mandate is to fund projects that help people who have been displaced by human conflict. Toward fulfilling this mandate, we try hard to maintain awareness of refugees and displaced persons even after the conflict has ended or drifted from the public eye. Many crises throughout the world are largely forgotten as time passes even though their survivors remain deeply affected. It is important to then remember these people so that even years after the conflict they may have access to the support they need to rebuild their lives.
In this vein, just as we will continue to work toward restoring the human dignity of those displaced by conflict, we will keep our thoughts on the millions of displaced Filipino people as they fight to recover from the Haiyan disaster.
To learn more about how you can help support a displaced community, please visit: http://refugeesinternationaljapan.org/what_you_can_do
Adam Becker and William Mawhinney