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Helping Typhoon Victims
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA -
Tens of thousands of people are now feared dead in the Republic of the Philippines. Fishing villages and entire towns are gone after Typhoon Haiyan hammered the coast with 200 mile per hour winds.
Cedar Rapids disaster specialist Peter Teahen says the pictures all of us have seen can never convey the overwhelming devastation and emotional gloom. In 25 years of work with the American Red Cross, various charities and governments across the globe, hes responded to 45 major disasters including Hurricane Katrina, Haiti and the tsunami in Sri Lanka and now he may end up in the Philippines. It reminds me of so many of the other operations Ive been on.. to hear the angst of the families, to watch the massive destruction, to look for miles and miles around you and say there isnt a building standing there arent any resources, its hard to comprehend.
After the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, Teahen saw the coastal regions where 35-thousand people died after three large waves hit the area. He saw the rooftop where 19 children, three adults and three dogs all hung on for their lives as the water tried to drag them away into the ocean. He says in similar fashion, the Philippines is now in shock. The folks there are probably just numb by the impact because its so overwhelming.
While Filipino and Asian organizations in Iowa are watching in horror, trying to contact relatives and send aid, there are some restrictions to consider. Teahen says just looking at the flood recovery in Cedar Rapids is a good indication that the people in the Philippines have a very long road ahead. He says it can be tempting to gather supplies, stuffed animals for children and other items of comfort and ship them off .. but dont !
" You will overwhelm the system if you send a box, I have received many calls from people saying we want to ship things we want to ship clothing .. they have no ports they have no warehouse they have no distribution system. "
Teahen says the best thing anyone in the corridor can do right now is donate cash to reputable organizations. He says that way the most important items can be purchased in bulk and delivered where theyre desperately needed. On our website youll find a list of several organizations who are collecting money to help the Republic of the Philippines.