Typhoon Ketsana has already claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed thousands of Philippine residents’ homes and crops vital to the area’s livelihood. It has claimed 92 lives in Vietnam, and is the worst storm to hit Vietnam in decades.
Additionally, an 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck September 29, 2009 near the American Samoa islands, triggering a deadly tsunami for the Samoan islands, killing 150 in the South Pacific and ravaging the area.
And of course, no one has forgotten about Hurricane Katrina.
In the midst of all these natural disasters, a health care worker might wonder – how can I help?
1. Donate funds.
Help people affected by disasters like the current floods by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters.
Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org.
You can donate specifically to the Philippines by going here: Philippines Red Cross
2. Donate your time.
It may seem impossible to live for a year volunteering without any income, but many factors apply — for instance, the country in which you volunteer might be drastically cheaper than your current living situation, and you could get by with much, much less. In some cases, you might be able to volunteer for a year on savings of a few hundred dollars. Some programs will give you room and board, some programs will pay a salary for your expertise, and others won’t do anything but give you a place to help. It’s up to you to choose a program that fits your specific needs. Keep in mind that if you ask, many volunteer programs will help with student loans, give excellent letters of recommendation, and help with job placement among many other things that might help you financially, or in the future. It never hurts to ask!
3. Donate your blood, canned food, old clothes, shoes…
You can also be a catalyst for other people to donate by raising funds through the Red Cross and other services. You could organize a local drop-off spot where people could donate their unwanted canned food, clothes and shoes.
For Philippines disaster, Google has created a list of all the drop-offs currently in the country, among other disaster resources. We highly recommend you check it out if you’re interested in helping the disaster victims of Typhoon Ondoy.