Joshua Vaile, one of last semester’s volunteers, has been tackling the problem of aid distribution in the Philippines. He and his partner, Arion Moreno, have started an initiative to help the people left out of the larger NGO’s plans for assistance in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Joshua and Arion were on holiday in the Philippines when Haiyan struck. Originally unable to leave Boracay Island they eventually made it to Manila. On seeing the damage they helped out by packing supplies at Villamor airport. They witnessed first-hand the problems of aid effort. Donations are being delivered slowly and distributed unequally so that large areas still remain without assistance. The provincial capital of Tacloban in Leyte has been described as the ‘ground zero’ of the disaster but other places are also in desperate need of help. Frustrated, Joshua and Arion set up the Direct Assistance: Haiyan Relief Effort.
The Direct Assistance: Haiyan Relief Effort is aiming to distribute aid to those affected on Panay Island in Western Visayas. The plight of those on Panay Island has received comparatively little media attention yet there are thousands of people left homeless and the population is looking at another five to six weeks without power. Direct Assistance has already exceeded its original fundraising goal of $1000 and Joshua and Arion intend to deliver the aid in person. Joshua explained that the group can also be used to help donors identify ‘reliable small organizsations already rolling out aid directly to the people and not wait for the bureaucrats to direct it.’ Direct Assistance already know of people doing this on both Samar and Cebu.
To find out more about how to help grassroots aid in the Philippines please go the facebook page of the Direct Assistance: Haiyan Relief Effort.
By Eleanor Paton
Images copyright Joshua Vaile