As Typhoon Hagupit nears the Philippines, UNICEF says they are prepared to provide emergency aid. The storm, which has sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, is expected to reach the Philippines on Saturday.
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The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday it has fed 2.9 million people in the Philippines as part of the Typhoon Haiyan emergency operation. WFP has dispatched a total of 30,716 metric tons of food including rice and high-energy biscuits to feed the hungry following the devastating storm last November.
Read the full article at Examiner.com
Thanksgiving is upon us. So too is the famous shopping day Black Friday. It’s also the anniversary of a great American initiative. This one started after World War II when Americans fed a “silent guest” at their holiday meals.
It was dreamed up by a former aspiring actress named Iris Gabriel. She gave up on Hollywood only to find her biggest role was in feeding the starving people in the war devastated countries in Europe.
At Thanksgiving on 1947 Americans were asked to imagine taking in one of the world’s hungry to their holiday celebration. They could mail the cost to feed that “silent guest” to a committee in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the home of Thanksgiving. A CARE package was then sent to a hungry person overseas.
The “silent guest” plan was endorsed by governors around the country including Robert Bradford of Massachusetts, a descendant of the Pilgrims.
As this Thanksgiving and Black Friday approaches, there are two huge emergencies ongoing in the Middle East and the Philippines. The war in Syria has left millions displaced and hungry. The colder temperatures are moving in too making relief even more difficult.
The super typhoon Haiyan has destroyed whole communities in the Philippines, leaving them without food, water or housing. The United Nations says 11.5 million people are affected by the Typhoon and 544,606 people are displaced. Food, clean water, medicine and shelter are desperately needed. Hunger, malnutrition and disease will escalate among the population unless aid arrives in time. The storm’s impact can last long past the event itself.
At this very moment Catholic Relief Services is helping provide emergency shelters. This is especially crucial with the risk of more rains coming.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday should be about sharing. For only by doing so can we have a world of peace, goodwill and hope.
This commentary originally appeared at the Orange County Register newspaper.
Imagine, for a moment, losing your home and having to flee to another state or country. When natural disasters or war strike, these worst fears become reality.
As this holiday season approaches, there are millions of people in the Philippines and the Middle East who just want the basics of food, water and shelter.
Last week heavy fighting in Syria sent at least 8,000 people running for their lives into neighboring Lebanon.
“The majority of them are women and children and some of them reported shelling and clashes along displacement routes on the way to Arsal,” UN World Food Programme spokesperson Laure Chadraoui told me.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is bringing them aid packages. Some of these refugees had already been displaced once within Syria before now finally being forced out of their home country.
Once in Lebanon, Syrian refugees are not completely safe. Cold and hunger threaten them. The UN Refugee Agency says many “live in poor accommodation in informal settlements, unfinished buildings, garages, worksites and warehouses that are not properly insulated against the cold climate.”
Francine Uenuma of Save the Children, says, “when I was in Lebanon last February, when it was extremely cold, and many of the kids were outside in sandals. Many also had coughs — the sub-zero temperatures mean many face chest infections, not to mention other health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.”
Syrians have also fled to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey. Throughout the Middle East there are over two million Syrian refugees. Aid groups and host governments are facing a huge task to help these war victims, many who have lost everything.
In Iraq, WFP is providing Plumpy’Doz to small Syrian children who are at risk of severe malnutrition. This special peanut paste can save their lives. The WFP is also providing extra food to children at schools to bolster class attendance and performance.
While this massive relief operation is ongoing in the Middle East, a world away is an emergency in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. More than 11 million Filipinos were impacted by the high winds, flooding and destruction caused by the storm.
The World Food Programme, UNICEF and other aid groups are rushing to bring them food, water, and medicine. The storm victims need shelter quickly. More rain and storms may be on the way. Aid is needed fast to save lives and to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Consider this: If children, especially, do not get enough nutrients it can cause lasting physical and mental damage. The lack of food or clean water can cause the spread of disease.
As the holidays come before us there is a great tradition called Black Friday, which marks the start of the holiday shopping season. Stores and individuals could donate at least a portion of their sales or purchasing funds toward relief of the suffering people in the Philippines and the Middle East.
Here are lists of some aid agencies with relief funds for the Philippines and for Syria. Some individuals have donated already. It is deeply appreciated too as Jen Hardy of Catholic Relief Services tells us from the Philippines.
Originally published at The Huffington Post.