The aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the beautiful island of Bohol in the Philippines in the morning of October 15 is just so heartbreaking. Even up to now, I still see photos of friends’ and neighbours’ houses destroyed and all kissing to the ground posted on Facebook. But just few hours after that destructive calamity, help came and relief operations went under way. As you all know, I started a campaign here in my blog and the response to help the earthquake victims back home was just overwhelming!
I was able to raise $1,060 in cash and cheque and have already sent it to two non-government organizations in Cebu and Bohol that are conducting relief goods distribution to the affected towns and municipalities. There is also another $500 pledge from the Knights of Columbus here in Oakville but I still have yet to receive the cheque and this will surely be able to buy gallons of water as this is the most needed now. The earthquake has shaken the grounds, destroyed water and electricity lines thus cutting off the much needed supply to the towns. It really breaks my heart to see my friends, neighbours and relatives to sleep in tents and fearing for their lives every time the ground shakes as aftershocks are still being felt (even till now). My heart bleeds thinking that I have enough water here, I have food in my fridge and yet they don’t have potable water to drink for days after the earthquake. That they had to wait for relief goods to arrive, they had no electricity and to contact them seemed impossible.
Thankfully, through my media connections back home, I have sent messages to help the victims and that they need it immediately and they have responded well too! The donation that I have sent have already been used to buy goods and several towns have already been given their much needed food and water and even medical supplies. Here are some photos that I’ve gathered from the organization that I’ve coursed through for our donation, Hope-Avenue Philippines Incorporated:
Goods being repacked by Hope-Avenue’s volunteers and staff!
Hope-Avenue in action and the earthquake victims scrambling to receive bags of relief goods.
This photo really tore my heart and as I write this post, my tears are falling down. I can just imagine the ordeal that this elderly had to go through. All I can do now is pray for her and for everyone else who have been affected, that the Lord may comfort them and they will be able to rebuild their lives again.
And while browsing through the relief operations album of Hope-Avenue, I saw this photo, more tears fell down. I think of my own children who would have also been in the same situation had we stayed in Bohol for a year more. I see in the children’s eyes the hope that they will be able to overcome all the circumstances they are in and their simple joys of getting a bag of rice, noodles, biscuits, canned goods and water is just evident.
The bags of relief goods will only sustain for a few days and I think of the long-term effects of the earthquake. How will they start, how about those families who have lost loved ones? How are they going to rebuild their lives? And even though I see the hope that Bohol will rise again, it will only happen if everyone contributes. Hope-Avenue Philippines Incorporated has also launched a calamity aid response unit geared towards the rehabilitation and rebuilding of houses as well as the psychological and spiritual lives of the earthquake victims.
The earthquake has forever changed our lives, the landscape of the island and has etched a big mark in our hearts, but the destruction and devastation will never dampen our spirits, it will never make us lose hope, it will make us stronger and Bohol will rise again!