Weathering the Storm

Hockadaisies reflect on their reactions to the destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan

One of the strongest storms ever record­ed in history killed 5,680 people, rendered 631,795 homeless, left 2.5 mil­lion in need of food and dam­aged $2.38 billion worth of in­frastructure, according to The Washington Post. And these numbers continue to rise.

Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philip­pines, struck the Philippines on Nov. 8. An estimated total of 4.9 million people were affected in the Philippines, including one of Hockaday’s own, Isabella So ’12, currently a sophomore at John Hopkins University.

So received word of the coming Typhoon Haiyan via her CNN Updates mobile app and immediately grew con­cerned about her relatives in the Philippines. Fortunately, the Metropolitan Manila re­gion where much of her family lives did not suffer much dam­age from the typhoon. Provinc­es Alkan, Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo and Palawan, however, did.

Even as an American citi­zen, So described being Filipino as a “huge part” of her person­al identity. “I have always felt close to my heritage, and I con­stantly carry [the Philippines] with me,” she said.

In response to Typhoon Haiyan, the John Hopkins Uni­versity Filipino Students As­sociation, which So is a part of, hosted an on-campus Thanks­giving dinner on Nov. 23. All funds from the dinner were donated to the Philippines Red Cross. So highly encourages others to become involved in Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

“Everything counts,” she said.

“Food, clean water and clothing are important for the victims right now, but it’s easy to send something as small as a letter or a card—it still means a lot.”

Upon hearing of Typhoon Haiyan, senior Kendall Ernst tried to contact her friend Krishna Goswami from the Philippines, who she met at a month-long program at Cam­bridge University in England last summer.

“[Typhoon Haiyan] was one of the only times that I have ac­tually known someone closely involved [in a disaster],” Ernst said. “It was kind of surreal to think that someone who I’d been studying with just months earlier might be in danger.”

Like So’s relatives, Gos­wami lives in Manila, so his area did not suffer much dam­age. Goswami’s school, the In­ ternational School of Manila, has been involved in collecting canned food, clothing, diapers and water for the victims.

“The relief process has been extremely difficult because so many of the roads have been damaged or destroyed,” Gos­wami said. “Even when aid is flown in to local airports, they often have trouble transporting supplies to people in need.”

It is clear that there is still more work to be done in the Philippines, but So is confident in its recovery.

“What happened in the Philippines is tragic,” So said, “but I’m so happy to see com­munities and nations come to­gether to help a country back on its feet.”

– Faith Isbell