When Yolanda hit Tacloban in November last year, some of my friends and I could not help but be somewhat skeptical in the aftermath. Yes, there were many projects and organizations that came forward to help in the rehabilitation, but one thing that stood out, for me, was the fact that many of them had big issues with actually getting help to Tacloban.
And, of course, the culprit is the government.
Or so we think.
Now, the big thing here is that rehabilitating a whole region of the country will take years – decades, in fact. All you have to do is search for how rehab projects for Hurricane Katrina are ongoing, to see the extent of reconstruction that needs to be done (taking budget, area, and damage factors into account).
To be fair, quite a few organizations and individuals are making it their life’s work for the next few years to help Tacloban and other affected areas get up on their feet again. But what is more obvious here is that a year after everything happened… everything has become so distant.
It’s the whole thing of how many Pinoys react to what is happening, and then promptly lose interest in it once the next big thing comes about. Yes, we can also blame the government for the endemic corruption, red tape, and partisan politics (ahem, the rumoured P-noy and Romualdez issues) that have marred the distribution of relief goods and the proper routing of funds.
In the end, however, it’s also about the attitude of people. Situations like this require a certain amount of commitment, and it can be even more of an insult to people if you end up leaving them in the lurch while going for the next disaster to contribute to.
Choose the battles you go into, particularly those which you know will need much more than a sudden donation. Also, it's probably a good idea to simply donate or lend a helping hand without much fanfare.
Photo: "SK-Tacloban-13" by Skott Khuu