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Saturday, November 09, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan - Philippines in Peril: Reflections of a Former Resident

Typhoon Haiyan - one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall. 

One hundred million Filipones were in the storm's path. Let's also remember those who live outside the Philippines and cannot connect with their families - aka "ATM" parents.

Although the Filipinos themselves are traumatically wiped out by this horribly dangerous storm, my thoughts and prayers also extend to the collateral population of "ATM Moms and Dads".These Filipinas and Filipinos are exported labor for wealthier people in countries like Singapore and in the Middle East.Their only connection with their families are often via the money they deposit from their meager incomes into automatic banking machines or "ATMs". These people are domestics and laborers who send nearly all of their incomes back to their families in the Philippines, where their money is drawn down from inside the country's ATM machines.

With the Philippines currently in post storm turmoil for the foreseeable future, the communications via ATM, snail mail and satellite cell phones are down. The fate of these separated families will have to wait an agonizing amount of time before the outcomes of this terrible Typhoon Halyan are known.

Meanwhile, CNN reports the devastation at "ground zero" in Leyete, where the storm hit hardest, includes hundreds of bodies washed up on beaches and this is an early assessment. Monster winds plowed across this section of the country killing people and damaging everything in the path of the storm. In Tacloban, Philippines CNN reports that no building in the coastal city of 200,000 residents appears to have escaped damage from Super Typhoon Haiyan.

All the Philippines are in peril as a result of this storm and the devastation will likely extend for decades.  

Our family lived in the Philippines for three years. Out heartfelt prayers and sympathies pour out to these beautiful and brave people who were our friends and neighbors for three years.

Americans were once the colonizers of the Philippines. Our humanitarian response must extend to those impacted by this tragic weather event. Our help is essential. 

Compassionate recovery efforts must reach out to help our friends and allies who have few, if any, safety net options. Many will likely never fully recover from this storm's terrible destruction; but we're obligated to help these people who are fellow human beings and international allies.

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