Friday, November 15, 2013

SO THAT MANY WILL UNDERSTAND - 1 - Haiyan/Yolanda super storm aftermath

This morning I was asked: “why not just tell your Government to move out all those people there. You see in the news all dead people around?” I told him it is difficult because there are just too many people affected.

Put them in camps, he said. We have evacuation centers but still not enough, I said. It is very easy, he pushed, put them in airplanes and boats then send to camps. I asked, “Did you know the place well? Heck, have you even seen how the islands look like?” He smiled and said, “NO”.

So this is how I made him understand.

I showed him this map of my country. My hometown is at number 15. The areas affected are roughly from numbers 32 to 53; can you see those islands and how far they are?

Yes, we can fly people by plane but airports are broken and no electricity. Yes, we can take them by boat, but the docking areas are full of debris and dead people. How can we shift them to the next island, if the other island is also in ruins? To this he just smiled and said: “oh yah, huh”

For most who don’t know, my country is made out of 7,100 islands, give or take. Number 21 is where the command center is and where most goods and resources are coming from. They fly and ship them to the areas affected, that means logistics is really a challenge.

Things are easier said than done, for most of us who are not there, directly involved. Easier for us to say “what the hell are they doing?” “where are the donations made?”.

By watching the news, reading the paper and social media updates, OUR knowledge is empowered and magnified. Our words and comments become swords that draw blood, ignite more pain and hurt to those people who are already giving all their best to help.

Help us more not only by making donations but also by understanding why things cannot be done as easily as how we think it will be.
Share · November 13 ·


  1. This is an eye opener.There are many things easily said,ofcourse unsolicited,but well nigh impossible.It was a revelation to me that your country comprises of 7100 tiny islands.My god,how do they maintain communication even in normal times.Thank you Ellen.The job is daunting and with help and patience things will get better.

    1. Thank you, KP, for your understanding. I hope that by this tiny post others more will be enlightened.

      Blessings to you and your family.


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