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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Resilience amid the ruin in the Philippines

Life amid the ruin offers the possibility of hope when help arrives.

It’s been five weeks since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the homes and lives of families in the central Philippines.

For survivors, today is an especially difficult day amid five long weeks of difficult days. This morning, the official death toll among their fellow citizens climbed above 6,000. Equally troubling is the fact that as many as 1,800 people remain missing. At this point families fear that these people have likely perished.

Yet amid the suffering and ruin, the 43,000 survivors that HOPE International Development Agency donors are helping sustain right now are proving incredibly resilient as they literally pick up the pieces of their lives.

They’re using the food, water, shelter materials, tools, medicine, soap, blankets, and other items we’ve been able to provide through the generous financial contributions of donors, to do much more than survive. They’re using this help to fuel a resilient attitude, that when combined with a additional, long-term support from us, will take them to a place where they are thriving, not merely surviving.

For survivors living in the 20 municipalities of Leyte province we’re working in right now, the immediate help we’re providing is also giving hope; something that’s in short supply in the aftermath of a massive disaster like Typhoon Haiyan.

The importance of hope cannot be understated among families in Leyte, a province that took a direct hit from the storm. As a survivor, you can have food in your belly, shelter, albeit temporary, from the elements, and blankets to keep you warm through the long nights, but still feel hopeless.

The support HOPE International Development Agency donors have provided and continue to provide ensures that families don’t feel hopeless in the aftermath of such a massive disaster. It ensures that hope is present and a strong factor in helping people rebuild their lives.

The families we’re helping know that life is not likely to return to “normal” any time soon, a sentiment that is understandable given the scale of the disaster and loss of life, but they also know, through your giving, that hope is present and that their lives can be built back better than the old “normal” – an important distinction when you consider that “normal” for the families we’re helping in the Philippines was a life of abject poverty even before Typhoon Haiyan entered their lives.