day 528 | december 26, 2011 | pass it on: washi disaster relief

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In between celebrations with family and friends, you may have heard about tropical storm Washi which blew through Southern Philippines on 16 December 2011, causing flashfloods which resulted in more than a thousand deaths, and the destruction of thousands of homes. This came as a surprise as this area of the region is not usually prone to storms – people were caught unprepared for such an onslaught. Initial rapid assessments estimate the affected population in the hardest hit region at 467,379. As of 21 December 2011, official reports reveal 12,131 damaged homes, displacing 284,610 people, with 49,441 displaced families being served both inside and outside 60+ evacuation centers. The remaining displaced – almost a quarter of a million people – have sought temporary shelter with relatives or makeshift structures. The storm disrupted power and water supplies as well as transport and communications in the area, hampering response and recovery.

To most of us, the storm is over, and this is old news among the many disasters that has happened this year. For the quarter of a million affected by this natural calamity, the struggle for normal life has just begun. In these types of disasters, the aftermath of inadequate shelter, lack of food and clean drinking water, unhygienic common living, and inadequate medical supplies can cause more preventable deaths days and months down the road, especially the little ones who are most vulnerable. Estimates reveal that US$28.6 million is needed in support to address the needs of those affected over the coming three months. Habitat for Humanity will respond to the disaster by giving out tool-kits, clean-up kits and shelter repair kits, and latrine (basic common toilet) construction in evacuation areas.


On January 1, Steph Tan Photography (STP) will be hosting a full day Photo Picnic in the park. Wet weather plan is for an indoor studio shoot at our home office. Half Hour ‘In The Moment’ Sessions are available for SGD150. Feel free to inquire regarding longer sessions. ALL of the proceeds will go to Habitat For Humanity’s Disaster Relief Efforts for the Washi victims. Book your slot by emailing your ideal timing to to coordinate specifics. (Do feel free to share this to friends and family who might be interested to give to the cause.) 

Alternatively, you may contact Habitat for Humanity Singapore or Singapore Red Cross directly for donations and volunteer opportunities. Lonely Planet’s resource on Tsunami volunteering may also give you an idea on ways to get involved in global disaster recovery efforts.

Join us as we celebrate the first day of the year with a heightened sense of awareness and a hearty generosity. Let’s all give back through any meaningful way we can! In the words of St Teresa, it may feel like a drop in an ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

References: Statistics were pulled from Habitat for Humanity's monthly newsletter and IRIN news. 


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