Most of us are probably still too stunned to take in the magnitude of the disaster that has overtaken the Philippines. The numbers alone make the mind boggle. The earliest reports suggested, if you remember, just four people known to have died, and there was some modest congratulation of the Government for its excellent evacuation and response plans. But then reports began to come in of whole cities destroyed and millions of people affected. The latest figures suggest many thousands dead and more at risk as the struggle to provide food, water, shelter and medical aid becomes a race against time. The Government, too, appears to outsiders too traumatised to act effectively.
Those who have Filippino friends will know something of the anguish they are experiencing, and true friends know how to give comfort. For the rest of us, the best we can do is to muster an imaginative sympathy, dig deep in our pockets and pray. And we must be content with that. Every human life matters; every dead body we see in the news reports is an individual, with a being and a history as precious as our own. The fact that we do not ‘understand’ is a reminder, albeit painful, that we are not as in control as we like to think we are. For now, however, our business is to help in whatever way we can — and do not underestimate the power of prayer in that.
There are many aid agencies that have set up appeals for the people of the Philippines. Please support them if you are able to do so.