It hit without warning, killing almost 4,000 people. The United Nations reports that more than 11,000 people have been affected and are now homeless. Reports from the Tacloban authorities state that there are still 1,602 people missing. The death count is rising.
On Monday, Nov. 10, the strongest hurricane ever recorded struck the Philippines. The category 5 storm devastated cities and the region’s economy. Jazmin Williams, the director of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Global Outreach program, has been paying close attention to the needs of those affected.
“There are a lot of people who are without food, phones and medicine,” Williams said. “There are a lot of areas that rescue teams have not visited yet. Initially, they thought it would be a huge flood, but it turned out to be much more horrifying.”
According to recent reports done by CNN, the streets are still lined with “the presence of bodies – lines up in bags or still buried in large areas of jumbled wreckage where houses once stood.” Many survivors are starving or fighting infection. The situation seems hopeless. Many are struggling to grasp the intensity of the situation.
Sophomore and psychology major Gabe Vega thinks that it will take a long time to rebuild and fix the problems that have resulted from the typhoon.
“I do not know much, but from what I know I am guessing that we (the U.S.) will be helping and that it will be a slow recovery for the economy and everyone there like it was in Haiti,” Vega said.
Freshman psychology major Caylee Hampton would go so far as to compare Typhoon Haiyan to Hurricane Katrina.
“It destroyed a lot of places important for their economy,” Hampton said. “It is their Katrina. The Earth tends to more cyclical cycles, and it results in more intense storms like this. I think it is really upsetting.”
While students like Hampton are struggling to organize help, many ideas are being offered.
“We can do fundraisers and even get an organization to go there like Habitat for Humanity,” Hampton said.
Vega also added that while people have no control over Mother Nature, they can control how they react to it.
“There are always random outbursts of nature, and this was one of them,” Vega said. “The only thing we can control is what we do after it. Being involved in the Dominican Republic Outreach Program (DROP), I feel like FGCU can form an organization like ours to help out over there,” Vega said.
That is where Williams steps in. Even from thousands of miles away, there are ways in which FGCU students can help those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan.
“Students can help by educating themselves with what is happening,” said Williams. “[They can] donate stuff such as non-perishable food items, first aid and clothing.”
Those who wish to donate to relief efforts over in the Philippines can contact Williams directly through her email, [email protected]
“There is always a way to help,” Williams said. “The more students that come together, the more we can do.”