With the images of devastation left by the super typhoon Haiyan; with the tired faces of children who lined up for relief food; with the silent cries of people who lost their relatives during the storm surge, year 2013 has a cluster of unthinkable memories which linger even today, albeit the of thousand kilometers between Canada and the Central Philippines.
To our Canadian friends, the horror of this tropical storm had become the rallying cries to offer their help, in cash and in kind; and to Filipino/Canadians, the feeling of desperation to extend their helps specially to those victims closest to their hearts had been blocked for many days; and more than that, to ordinary Filipino/Canadians who are passionate to share their blessings to those who have less in life, much more to those who became homeless, motherless, fatherless or childless, or to those farmers who lost his crops; and those fishermen who lost their boats.
The storm aftermath is unthinkable; beyond our rationality; beyond our comprehension; and with what had happened in 2013, would 2014 be a gentler year for our kababayans who have been victims of the many tropical depressions; and sometimes, victims of earthquake and landslides.
Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines,set a remarkable record: the first super typhoon ever to hit the earth! With billion of pesos in lost in properties and more 6,000 Filipinos who lost their lives, one would pray that 2014 will offer a much better year; on the other hand, typhoon Haiyan had moved the hearts and minds of all people in the world. Never in our lives that people sought to find out how to help; or how to donate money or relief goods. Yes, Haiyan had become the catalyst to open our hearts and wallets.
More than 43 governments had offered help; more than million of volunteers have offered their time and their skill: the devastated site had become the melodrama of survival, of helping others without any reward.
In Canada alone, specially the Federal Government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper had offered so much to help the typhoon victims. Not only to match dollar for dollar on money donation, Canadian government committed over $20 million in humanitarian assistance and implementing compassionate immigration measures. Added to these humanitarian action, the government deployed the DART in the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz on Panay Island where over 300 Canadian Armed Forces members were clearing roads and providing health support and clean water.
And the various Filipino Canadian associations and organizations, in Edmonton and in Calgary and the neighboring cities and towns,became one single force to help, as if the actions were symphonic motions to raise money for their kababayans. And each one had so much to pray that this kind of devastation would not happen again.
Expecting a gentler 2014, each one of us has all the prayers and hopes that this year is a year of reconstruction and rehabilatation in Central Philippines, and a year for those victims to have happy lives.
And we want to hear the dada cries of newborn babies; we want to see the smile of the children as they play with their friends. And the farmers to have new crops; the fishermen to have new boats; and the families to have new houses; and to the politicians to focus on helping their constituents.
Ah, the warm salty tropical wind keeps someone aware of nature’s gift of life; of death!
For the nature gives;the nature takes!
And from heavens, a gentler 2014!