Girls At High-Risk For Rape: The New Fear of Typhoon Survivors

You would think that after surviving one of the world’s strongest typhoons, you’d have survived the worst. Unfortunately, conditions after such a destructive event prove to be quite dangerous as well.

Much of Philippines is left trying to cope with all the loss brought on by Typhoon Haiyan, otherwise known as Typhoon Yolanda. Days after the typhoon, residents are left in dire need of food, water and medical treatment.

Bodies line the streets in need of body bags. People wait in crowds at nearby airports for days just to receive some food. Tons of people are left without a home and must seek shelter in abandoned vehicles. Citizens cover their face in an effort to avoid the stench of rotting bodies. Looters have begun to take what they can simply because they want their family to survive. In desperation, some have dug into water pipes to keep from dehydration.

This nightmare has become a reality for some of the Filipino citizens who’s homeland was destroyed by the typhoon. While victims must go each day worrying about their survival, the British government points out another terror which haunts the victims.

According to The Telegraph, thousands of Filipino women and girls will face the very real risk of violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, rape, forced marriage and trafficking.

“We are concerned about the safety of women and girls in the Philippines,” says Justine Greening, Britain’s international development secretary, who is helping to coordinate the UK’s response to the crisis. “After previous emergencies in the Philippines, we have seen an increase in violence against women and girls and in particular the trafficking of girls.”

According to The Telegraph, this danger is common during natural disasters in developing countries because people turn to trafficking as a way to survive, the weakened environment creates more vulnerable situations for women, and these issues are simply not prioritized because they are not considered life-threatening.

“Currently, girls and women in crisis situations such as earthquakes, hurricanes, famine and conflict are more vulnerable to violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual assault, forced marriage and trafficking, because of the lack of protection and provision for their needs.” says Justine Greening. “The UK Government believes that the prevention and response to violence against girls and women in emergencies is a life-saving action and should be prioritised from the outset, alongside other life-saving interventions,” Ms Greening said.

Greening has already advocated for certain measures to be taken such as sending a women’s ‘protection specialist’ and solar lanterns because better lighting creates safer environments. Obviously, these are very quick tactics and UK hopes other countries will work in solidarity with them to create long-term strategies.

“It’s about giving girls a voice, participation matters,” Greening explains. “It’s also about choice over what women do post-crisis – what they do with their lives, what to do for a job, when to get married and what happens to their bodies. This matters.”

Anderson Cooper Reveals The True State of The Philippines

American journalist, reporter and television personality Anderson Cooper has been creating quite a buzz for himself for his live reports from the Philippines directly after Typhoon Haiyan.

The CNN reporter and host of is own daytime talk show Anderson Live, flew to Tacloban to report on the city most affected by the Typhoon.

His reports have gained quite a bit of attention because Cooper was not afraid to delve into the lack of aid and resources. He described the lack of government presence and the speed of aid.

Watch Anderson’s CNN segment below:

His report has caused a number of mixed reviews. Some were apparently upset over Cooper criticizing the Philippine government’s slow and inadequate efforts. Among those who disagreed with his sentiments was ABS-CBN newsreader Korina Sanchez.

During her morning radio show, Sanchez claimed that Cooper did not know what he was talking about. Philippine netizens, many of whom were facing the struggles that Cooper shed light on, were angered by Sanchez’s comment and pointed out that while he was out in the field gathering an actual account of the destruction, she was sitting sitting safely in a radio station saying that the state of things were not as bad as Cooper made it seem.

Others point out that her comment was for political reasons. After all, Sanchez is married to the  Interior Secretary who heads the rescue and relief operations in Tacloban CIty. Citizens said she simply did not want to make it seem as if her husband was not doing an adequate job.

Because of this, many more netizens seem to agree with Cooper’s report.

Additionally, Cooper has been using twitter to share his thoughts and reveal the true state of the Philippines after the Typhoon:

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(Source 1, 2, 3)

A Closer Look At The Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan: Before & After Pictures

For some, the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan is something distant and far from reality. An estimated 10,000 death toll is a number too large to comprehend and the 620,000 displaced residents are surely receiving aid, right?

Unfortunately, this is not exactly the case. Residents are in dire need of assistance, but there is simply too many victims and too little aid available.

Although Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest recorded typhoons in history, it is still receiving far less aid than Sandy and Katrina.

Huffington Post reported that the insufficient aid has caused chaos among the residents who are doing what they can to survive. Allegedly, eight people died, not because of the storm, but because people were desperate for food. Local authorities claim looters raided rice stockpiles in a government warehouse, causing a wall to collapse onto victims.

Many have gone to local airports to seek food, water and aid, but are left waiting for days.

When asked how she and her four children endured three days of waiting in searing heat and torrential downpours, Marivic Badilla, 41, held up a small battered umbrella. “We have been sheltering under this,” she said, tears streaming down her face. 

In desperation, some Tacloban citzens have dug up water pipes to get water. Though there is no assurance that the water is safe for consumption, the citizens believe there is no other option if they intend to survive.

And if words are not enough to understand the full effects of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines, these visuals will probably do it:

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Click here to find out how you can help.

Help the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan — Here’s How

While there are many relief efforts out there to help the Philippines recover from the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, Filipina American Ruby Verdiano of Glamourbaby Diaries shares her trusted platforms, spearheaded by people she personally knows. Check out the below links to help the people of the Philippines.

GAWAD KALINGA
Donate to GK and help fund a food pack consisting of bottled water, canned goods and rice for a family of 4. It will last them for 3 days when they need it most. GK’s relief teams are on the ground now clearing roads to get the food packs in the devastated areas. 98% of all donations we’ll go to the victims and their donations are 100% tax-deductible. DONATE HERE. 
Bundles of Joy 
One “Bundle of Joy” for $10 provides water, food, light, and vitamins to Typhoon Haiyan survivors.
 DONATE HERE. 

Heartbreaking Images: The Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan

One of the world’s strongest recorded Typhoons recently plowed through the Philippines leaving catastrophic damage. More than 10,000 estimated people are dead and nearly 620,000 people have been displaced from their homes and communities.

Here are some ways you can offer your aid:

Philippine Red Cross is sending rescue teams to affected areas of the country.
UN humanitarian response depot (UNHRD) have set up hubs with equipment to affected areas.
The UN’s World Food Program is providing food assistance to families and children.
UNHCR is providing emergency resources to the affected areas.
Unicefs Philippine branch is trying to provide access to drinkable water, medical supplies, food and shelter.
Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty, is accepting monetary donations as well as nonperishable goods such as children’s vitamins, rice, kitchen utensils and blankets.
A shipping company is delivering to the Philippines for free.
Candlelight Vigils are being held in various communities to raise relief funds.
Habitat for Humanity plans to offer shelter repair kits for families who need to re-build their damaged houses.
Operation USA will allocate donations directly to relief and recovery efforts.

 

Below are some of the heartbreaking images of the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Warning: Some of the following images may be graphic.

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A survivor stands in the wreckage of Tacloban city

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A father looks over the body of his deceased daughter.

A father looks over the body of his deceased daughter.

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Bodies of the deceased wrapped in blankets in a damaged chapel.

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A damaged village hall in Janiuay, in Iloilo province.

A damaged village hall in Janiuay, in Iloilo province.

 

Homeless survivors take refuge in a damages jeepney.

Homeless survivors take refuge in a damages jeepney.

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Survivors wait to receive treatment and supplies.

Survivors wait to receive treatment and supplies.

 

Resident's cover their face to avoid the smell of rotting corpses.

Resident’s cover their face to avoid the smell of rotting corpses.

Residents try to rebuild their homes.

Residents try to rebuild their homes.

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(Source 1, 2, 3)

7 Things You Should Know About Typhoon Haiyan, The World’s Strongest Typhoon That Hit The Philippines

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Super Typhoon Haiyan that plowed through the Philippines earlier this week. While many people know that the typhoon occurred, we’ve come across a number of individuals who seem unaware of the details.

Maybe there has been so much information that you’re overwhelmed. Maybe you haven’t had the time to keep up with it. Or maybe you simply don’t have the heart to read into it. Whatever the reason, we’ve decided to compile a list of information regarding this tragic disaster to give you a glimpse of the aftermath.

1. This is one of the strongest Typhoons in history.

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Hemispheric view of Haiyan (EUMETSAT Facebook page)

With sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts of 235 mph, Typhoon Haiyan is the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded and possibly the strongest recorded typhoon to have ever hit land. According to The Guardian, this is the third and strongest Category 5 typhoon in the Philippines.

Haiyan is the third Category 5 “super typhoon” to hit the Philippines since 2010. “In 2010 Megi peaked at 180mph winds but killed only 35 people, and did $276m in damage. But Bopha, which hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on 3 December, 2012 , left 1,901 people dead and was the costliest natural disaster in Philippines history at the time,” said Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at US-based Weather Underground in his daily blog.

 

2. There are more than 10,000 estimated deaths.
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An estimated 10,000 people have died in one city, Tacloban, alone. Adding on to the results of the Bohol earthquake of Oct. 15 2013, nearly 620,000 people have been displaced from their homes and communities.

3. Entire cities were destroyed.
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ABC’s South-East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel described scenes of destruction in Tacloban.

Even to walk down the road is extremely difficult. You’re climbing over cars and buses that have been tossed by the wind and swept in by the storm surge.

“There are still bodies littering the sides of the roads that have not been collected. People are sheltering under whatever they can find. There’s a real sense of frustration among people because they don’t have enough food, they don’t have enough water.

4. Citizens call for immediate action.
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A climate negotiator from the Philippines makes a tearful speech at the UN climate talks in Warsaw asking the word to take immediate action.

5. Some people can be cruel.

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A teacher in Canada posted this cruel status in regards to the large death toll from the Typhoon. Her profile was deleted after quite a bit of angry backlash.

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CNN is also facing its share of angry comments for its remark that the Philippines was “privileged” to have experienced such a storm.

6. And another storm seems to be on its way.

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The earthquake in October left nearly 350,000 people homeless. Typhoon Haiyan increased that number to 620,000 and had more than 10,000 casualties. Now, another storm is headed towards the already weakened Philippines. The tropical depression named Zoraida is the 25th tropical cyclone to enter the country this year.

7. So here’s how you can help.

There are a number of organizations providing aid to the Philippines who are looking for help/donations .

Philippine Red Cross is sending rescue teams to affected areas of the country.

UN humanitarian response depot (UNHRD) have set up hubs with equipment to affected areas.

The UN’s World Food Program is providing food assistance to families and children.

UNHCR is providing emergency resources to the affected areas.

Unicefs Philippine branch is trying to provide access to drinkable water, medical supplies, food and shelter

Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty, is accepting monetary donations as well as nonperishable goods such as children’s vitamins, rice, kitchen utensils and blankets.

A shipping company is delivering to the Philippines for free.

Candlelight Vigils are being held in various communities to raise relief funds.

 

(Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Angelica Galindez Wins Miss Philippines Beauty Pageant Without Her Wig

Right before 19-year-old Angelica Galindez competed in the Miss Philippines Earth USA beauty pageant, she simply had one question: “Can I not wear my wig?”

At the age of 12, Galindez, raised in San Francisco, was diagnosed with alopecia. The disease occurs when one’s immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles and results in hair loss. Those affected with alopecia typically regrow their hair by the following year. Galindez categorizes with the rare 10% of people who never regrow their hair after being diagnosed with this condition.

Galindez faced a challenging time because of her condition. She admits to getting picked on at school and suffered a number of self-esteem issues.

“The hard part was just looking at myself in the mirror,” Galindez tells KUTV. “It was very challenging, I cried a lot, I slept a lot, just to sleep away the pain.”

Thankfully, the beautiful Galindez learned to overcome her self-esteem issue. She bravely decided to embrace her looks and even works as a hair beautician.

Although Galindez was accepted into the pageant based on a picture where she is wearing a wig, she decided to leave the wig behind while competing. She says that although she entered the pageant to boost her self-esteem, her decision to ditch the wig was an effort to inspire young girls, especially those with alopecia.

She took home one of the six pageant crowns move on to the pageant’s national-level competition in April.

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Wakeskating Stunt on “Eighth Wonder of the World” Sparks Debate

Popular energy-drink brand Red Bull sparked a recent controversy with a video, which features professional wakeskaters Brian Grubb and Dominik Preisner having a riding session on the Philippines’ famed Banaue Rice Terraces.

The video, which already has amassed over 910,000+ views since being published in late October, has been at a center of a heated debate.  The question at hand?  Whether or not the actions of the wakeskaters was a sign of major disrespect.

The 2000-year-old terraces were built and carved into the Cordillera mountain range by the native Ifugao tribes.  Their historical significance to the region and beauty has earned the area the title of “Eighth Wonder of the World” as well as being deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For many opposed to the stunt, the wakeskaters were treating the site as a personal play area, disregarding its rich history.  Some comments on the video include:

“The simple fact that they needed permission says a lot about how important the place is. Going through all of that simply to ride for 10, 15 meters. Awesome.”

 

“Dislike. This is sad. I hate how they treated and promoted our Rice Terraces. There other good means of promoting this wonder but not like this. Our ancestors build this with such hardwork and for the main purpose of planting rice. NOT for wakeskating! Even though they got their permission and respected the environment. This is not just right.”

 

Supporters, who seem to outnumber the nay-sayers (at least online), are quick to point out that the stunt was performed after permission was granted by not only the Philippine government, but by those still living in the area, a scene which is explicitly shown and stated during the video.  Others note that the video highlights the beauty of the islands, helping to promote tourism.

“It’s okay. They did this activity during off-agricultural season and they asked our elders’ permission and the LGU’s approval. They even performed a ‘baki’, which is a traditional practice for seeking blessings and permission from our dead ancestors when carrying out an event. Also, rest assured that no plants or animals were harmed while the activity was ongoing.”

“Thank you, Redbull for featuring and promoting our country! what an awesome film!”

“sobra lang maka-react ang iba..okey naman ang pagkakagawa..hindi naman disrespecful sa mga katutubo at sa kalikasan..tumutulong pa nga sa pagpromote ng tourism sa bansa natin.. [The others are just over-reacting.  What they're doing/what they did (to make the film) is okay...it's not disrespectul to the native peoples and nature.  They're even helping to promote tourism to our country.]

What are your thoughts?  Let us know in the comments!

Blind 11-Year-Old Sings Amazing “Wrecking Ball” Cover

It goes without saying that Miley Cyrus has generated quite a bit of attention for herself the past few months. Though some may shake their head at the provocative performances and the minimal amount of clothing, there’s no denying the amount of people who enjoy her music.

That includes 11-year-old Joyce Jimenez from the Philippines. In fact, Jimenez is so passionate about Cyrus’ song “Wrecking Ball” that she has no problem belting out the song for the public to see.

Although Jimenez is blind and must follow along to braille lyrics, nothing seems to stop this talented girl from letting her voice shine.

The video, which was released less than a week ago, has already been going viral and has gathered over 480,000 views. Clearly, it’s for good reason. Check out the cover below and don’t be surprised if you catch yourself with goosebumps.

Mistreatment at Airport For Filipina Mom: Netizens Weigh In, Shed Interesting Light on Issue

An incident earlier this week at Seattle’s international airport, which resulted in the deportation of 63-year old Filipina Carina Yonzon Grande (pictured above, center, with future son-in-law Ken Shaw and grandson Josh), has sparked another discussion on the complex matter of immigration.

In an emailed statement sent to Philippine news outlets, Grande states she was on her way to the US for her daughter’s wedding, a trip that would mark her 13th trip to the States.  Upon arrival, was questioned, held (Grande claims without food or water) and later sent back to the Philippines by immigration officials.

Thanks to netizens, the talks surrounding issue have shown a wide variety of opinions.

Some claim the immigration officials were simply doing their job and practicing precaution:

“Bakit alam ninyo na ba ang reason ng kabilang kampo kung bakit nila ginawa yon? Baka naman may valid reason din sila…” [“Why, do you all know the reason why the other side (US immigration officials) did what they did? Perhaps they have a valid reason.” (JosWallace Jao-Farmer, ABS CBN News Facebook)

 

“Sorry po sa na experience nyo dito sa USA pero sa tingin ko may nakita sila sa papers mo na hindi ka talaga nila papasukin very strict sila…if kulang talaga ang papers deport ka talaga……” [“I’m sorry for your experience here in ths US, but in my opinion, they saw something in your paperwork that wouldn’t have let you entered. (sic) They’re very strict...if you have something missing from your paperwork, you have no choice but to be deported.”] (Coppick Pauldel, ABS CBN News Facebook)

Others accuse them of discriminatory behavior, viewing Filipinos as potential TNTs (tago ng tago, a Tagalog phrase for someone who will enter the country and become an undocumented resident or worker), a phrase that Grande claimed they used during her questioning.

“Some US immigration officers think that majority of Filipinos are liars whose (sic) looking for green pasture when they sit put at the mainland with no intention to return to motherland. (Benajmin Escano, GMA News Facebook)

But most notably, there are those that remind us that Grande’s experience is not isolated and reflects a larger issue of mistreatment and basic human rights.

“I understand that the US needs to be vigilant, but there is no excuse for the rude behavior and lack of professionalism. When I see how curt and rude they can be with me, a US citizen, I shudder to think of what is in store for non-natives. (Perlkherst, Reddit)

“Uhm I don’t think the other side of the story is going to be acceptable. We understand the rationale behind their jobs, but however way you put it, maltreatment is not acceptable. Everyone deserves basic human rights. (Katrina Dela Cruz Cacal, ABS CBN News Facebook)

Such comments remind us that immigration issues are ones that affect the entire global community and have a particular bearing and importance for the Asian and Asian American community.  With Asian Americans becoming the fastest growing immigrant population in the United States, incidents such as these undoubtedly raise a red flag for our community.  But not only is this concerning for Asian Americans, it is something that should cause concern on a national and global scale.

Because, as Katrina Cacal mentions, beyond the immigration debate, it’s heartbreaking to think that people, immigrants or not, are being subjected to poor treatment, particularly in a country that has long prided itself in being a place that has opened its doors to visitors and immigrants from around the globe.  While we do not know the whole story concerning the Grande case, as the US Embassy has refused to release a statement and no word has come from immigration authorities in Seattle, that should not overshadow the improper, dehumanizing treatment that Grande experienced.

Notably, this incident comes on the heels of a looming visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to the Philippines, scheduled for October 11 and 12.  The two countries view each other as reputable allies, a relationship that has held strong for years due to the two countries intertwining histories and continuing diplomatic and military ties.  Though Kerry is said to be on the trip to “reaffirm the strong economic, people-to-people, and security links between the two nations,” it will be interesting to see if immigration and tension-inducing issue will be brought up in discussion — US-Philippine immigration was a planned topic for discussion for Philippine President Ninoy Aquino.

But whatever happens, we’re sure the netizens will definitely have something to say.

[Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News)