An estimated death toll of 10,000, and hundreds of thousands displaced in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which devasted the coastal areas of the Phillipines last Friday, has relief groups around the world scrambling to bring aid to the country. The Guardian’s last reports from Monday stated there is a serious shortage of secure shelter. Hundreds are being buried in mass graves and bodies still litter the streets and flooded areas. Two point five million people are in need of food according to the World Food Program.
Founder of Beijing-based charity Bethel China, Guillaume Gauvain, was in Bohol on the southern tip of Cebu island in the Phillipines when the typhoon struck, setting up a therapy center for disabled children. He and his team are currently on the ground in the badly affected regions of northern Cebu, doing what they can to distribute food and clear roads. They are using construction equipment to clear power lines, distributing rice and even handing out lollipops. Bethel has arranged for donations to be made through Bethel’s donation page on their website.
To donate, specify ‘other’ and write ‘Cebu relief’ in the box. Expenses will be tracked and reports written weekly. The fund will be fully separated from Bethel China’s usual operating costs.
The Guardian has also provided a list of international organizations that you can support.
A video documenting the disaster and Gauvain’s journey to the north of Cebu is available on YouTube. Below is a written account from Gauvain about what he has witnessed so far, what can be done and his appeal for aid:
"We came back late last night from our trip to the north of Cebu. It took seven hours for a trip that usually takes two. The more north we went, the more damage there is, until we saw all houses leveled, all trees beheaded and all telephone and electric lines are on the ground. Most wooden houses are destroyed. You could really tell where the gusts of winds passed, because you could have a house standing next to the same house that was flattened to the ground.
"We went with our friend John and his family. He owns a construction business so he had some power tools and a truck, we rode in the back of the truck.
Find out more here.
This post first appeared in the beijinger on November 12.
Photos courtesy of Bethel China