Ways to give to Philippines, still in dire need of donations

BRATTLEBORO — I believe in and support peace, compassion, truth, artistic expression, an informed and ethical democracy, economic, social, and environmental justice. If you share these ideals, I would like to enlist your help.

The people of the central Philippines need help on a massive scale after being struck by a massive typhoon. Please, if you're able to, open your hearts and wallets to help those devastated by that storm.

According to a story in The New York Times about the plight of Tacloban, that city faces a “collapse in sanitation, shortages of fresh water and inability of emergency health teams to respond quickly.” The people there face cholera, hepatitis, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid fever, bacterial dysentery, leptospirosis, tetanus, acute respiratory infections, measles, and possibly even polio, according to Doctors Without Borders, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and AmeriCares.

Dear reader, doesn't it seem unreasonable to assume that if a city of about 220,000 is “flattened,” and considering that many parts of the central Philippines, and not just Tacloban, were impacted by the typhoon, that there will be a long-term need for aid in the form of food, water, shelter, medical care, and rebuilding infrastructure?

Both the Times and Amy Goodman's Democracy Now radio show mentioned that wind speeds from the typhoon were estimated by satellite reconnaissance at 195 miles per hour. To give an American context to the strength of Typhoon Haiyan and the destruction it caused, can you imagine what the destruction of Hurricane Sandy (which peaked at 115 mph) would have been if it had had winds of that magnitude?

I feel pretty sure that Brattleboro residents will help as they have in other disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and the earthquake in Haiti. I have a small fixed income and can't give much, but if I can coax others to give, too, then it is a bigger help to people in dire circumstances - people who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods. Outdo me - it'll be easy.

I know from personal experience that Oxfam, a reputable and accredited charity, already has people in the Philippines and will accept a donation of as little as $2: Oxfam America, 226 Causeway St. 5th floor, Boston, MA 02114-2206, www.oxfamamerica.org/give, 1-800-77-OXFAM.

I also recommend Doctors Without Borders, also rated four stars by Charity Navigator: Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030; www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate.

If you'd rather give another way or to a different charity or through a local fundraising effort, fine - but please give in some small way.

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