Strengthening Community After Typhoon Haiyan

Residents carry relief goods past damaged homes in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
Bullit Marquez/AP Photo

With all of the news out now about the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan (called “Yolanda” in the Philippines) has wrecked in the Philippines, many people here in the United States and elsewhere have been asking how they can help.  Many of the organizations you’ll find below are ones that have been featured elsewhere, but if you have any questions about the effectiveness of an aid organization, be sure to check with Charity Navigator!   Charity Navigator has even put together a list of larger aid organizations  actively working to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

One thing that stood out when looking up resources to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan is the presence of people and family tracing services.  There is a significant Filipino diaspora, with over 10 million Filipinos living outside of the Philippines, and the biggest concentration of overseas Filipinos is here in the United States.  As a result, even though some of us here in the United States may feel removed from what’s going on in the South Pacific, we most likely have friends, coworkers, neighbors, or even family members who have loved ones who may be acutely impacted by the typhoon.  It may sounds cliché to talk about a “global” community these days, but in all honesty, the community or family you identify with may be broader than you think!

On that note, the following organizations are currently providing people/family tracing services for anyone who might have loved ones in the regions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan:

  • American Red Cross– “ The Red Cross has also activated its family tracing services. If you are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines, please remember that many phones lines are down. Please continue trying. If you are still unable to reach them, you can contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case”
  • Google Person Finder– Google Person Finder was created to “helps people reconnect with friends and loved ones in the aftermath of natural and humanitarian disasters.”  The process, as described by the website, is as follows:
    • A crisis strikes and people get separated.
    • They let the world know they are looking for someone
    • Individuals and organizations provide the information.
    • People find information about their friends and family

Also, various organizations within Filipino-American communities are also raising funds and send money to the Philippines.  Some examples include:

  • National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON): “At this time, NAFCON will assist in the direct transfer of MONETARY donations. Your donation will be sent directly to Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan or BALSA (People’s Cooperation for the People), a national grassroots relief and rehabilitation organization composed of broad church-based organizations, schools, disaster response NGOs, and individuals, working with victims of disasters in the Philippines.”
  • The Philippine Disaster Relief Organization organized a charity 5K that took place yesterday.  Initially organized to support survivors of a 7.1 earthquake that took place within the past month, the proceeds will now go towards relief for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Much of this information was found from 18 Million Rising‘s Facebook page which is very much focused on supporting and strengthening Asian/Pacific Islander American communities.  Many thanks!

Edit (Tuesday, Nov 12):

NAFCON (linked to above) is doing a great job highlighting relief efforts organized by various Filipino American communities across the nation.  Also, the Baltimore Sun ran this great article today about Baltimore-area Filipino community efforts to respond to the storm.  In case you can’t get to the article, two of the groups highlighted are Foundation for Aid to the Philippines and Katipunan of Maryland.  I think they’re still mobilizing, so their websites may not be up to date with the latest relief efforts.

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Hieu Truong

As a Project Specialist with Campaign Consultation, Inc., I primarily support the Social Innovation Fund, showcase their leadership in effectively scaling programs that improve youth development and school support, economic opportunity, and healthy futures. Prior to joining the team, I served as Program Officer at the Chesapeake Bay Trust where I provided direct grant assistance on water quality improvement projects and encouraged grantees to develop cross-sector partnerships with community development and social service organizations. I also have experience with issues of cultural competency and helping grassroots organizations serve various Asian American/Pacific Islander communities with limited English proficiency. Read more.

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