Thank you for all your messages, which I have given to your sponsored children, and for your very real presence despite the distance that separates us.
This is a quick message to give you some news, and to ask for your help if you don’t mind!
The typhoon didn’t cause any damage to the Cebu centre. We were very frightened three days before the typhoon hit, but in the end we were quite fortunate. We can now give thanks for having been spared and turn our attention to all those who were affected by the typhoon – and there are many.
Today local groups began the mobilisation to provide emergency assistance: on some islands everything was destroyed (this was the case on Bantayan, where 90% of homes were demolished, and in Northern Cebu where a number of sponsored children live). Since these populations have nothing left, the most immediate priority is to provide them with food and water as quickly as possible.
The centre’s children immediately joined in these initiatives, and this afternoon the strongest among them were carrying 5 or 10kg bags of rice, while others were opening plastic bags to fill them with cans of sardines, cans of beef, rice, etc. Everything was perfectly lined up in very neat piles, ready to be transported and distributed! Here are a few pictures from this day, which will remain engraved in everyone’s memory.
All this hustle and bustle took place in an atmosphere of good cheer that was as surprising as it was infectious. There was no trace of the anxiety everyone felt on that uncertain night when anything could happen. Nor could you see any of the distress the children were feeling on behalf of those who had lost everything. Their smiles were indelible and never left their faces. And these smiles were the most powerful weapon of all, driving all their efforts to help their neighbours near and far, both geographically and emotionally.
That being said, the distress here is very real. And even though the international community immediately sprang into action, Children of the Mekong remains a key resource for the families of the sponsored children who have been affected.
If you’d like to help Children of the Mekong in the Philippines provide emergency aid to families affected by the typhoon, you can make a donation: http://www.bmycharity.com/typhonhaiyan
Geneviève Patier, Manager of the Cebu Student Centre, Philippines 2013-2014