Ways You Can Find and Help Fam in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

November 13, 2013

The folks in the Philippines need more than your prayers.

By now you've seen the utter devastation left in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. You've heard that the death toll was first estimated to be somewhere around 10,000 (as of Wednesday morning, it stands at 2,275). You've probably read that the streets reek of dead bodies, and people have no water or food, and many have resorted to violence in order to survive. These people need more than just your prayers -- they need food, water, shelter, medical supplies, and money to rebuild.

I have a million feelings about my parents' homeland -- how hopelessly disconnected I sometimes feel towards my culture, how much I battle with the Filipino ideals of familial piety and devout faith, the sorrow and guilt that the Philippines seems to be particularly vulnerable to horrid disasters and government corruption. But it's too soon to parse these feelings and reflect, and people over there are suffering and dying by the minute.

So instead, let's focus on the things we can do. Here is a quick-hit list of resources to help.

If you are searching for family, Google has launched a person finder, and a partial list of survivors in Samar and Tacloban is located here. The official list of casualties (deceased, injured, and missing) is located here. And AT&T and Verizon are offering free phone calls to the Philippines to both wireless and landline customers at this time.

If you are looking for places to donate, Charity Navigator offers some tips on selecting a charity that will do the most with your money. There is a great article on Slate explaining why money is the best thing to give rather than goods. However, if you don't have the money to spare and would really like to send a box of medical supplies, blankets, tents, water, and canned goods instead, LBC will ship your balikbayan boxes to the Philippines for free.

Finally, this Reddit thread has a great roundup of volunteer efforts, relief operations, and charities to which you can donate money. NBC News also has a list of charities. I have personally seen UNICEF, Philippines Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, NAFCON, and Gawad Kalinga recommended by my friends the most.

Once you have given what you can, consider the following for supplemental reading. Super typhoons such as Yolanda can become a regularly recurring thing for the Philippines if something is not done about climate change. See his heartbreaking appeal to the UNCCC below.


Theresa Celebran Jones


Theresa Celebran Jones was born and raised in Connecticut and has moved cross-country four times. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters. She works full-time as a technical writer and is an MFA dropout. Her only other hobbies are reading, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and listening to hip hop. Clearly she has no social life.