Monday 20 November 2017

Philippines disaster scenes so heartbreaking

GIVEN the technological era we live in, we're well used to seeing pictures and footage of the world's worst catastrophes, from war to famine to natural disasters.

Unfortunately, the scenes of utter devastation are becoming far too commonplace to the point where, if we're honest, the impact is somewhat lessened with each disaster we see.

That's why I'm really taken aback at just how much I have been affected by the scenes emerging from the typhoon-ravaged Philippines. They are utterly heart-breaking and every time I watch the news I feel overwhelming sadness.

Last week, I watched a grown man cradle his three small children, wiping away tears as he explained that he had no idea where he was going to get food or water for them. Two babies were sleeping on the floor of a community centre.

Then we had the pictures of the scramble for what water and food was getting in; old women in their 70s and 80s queuing for essential supplies that would probably last them a day or two. It was heart-breaking.

It's weird, because I remember the whole Live Aid phenomenon, but I can honestly say I wasn't affected to this level.

The scale of the disaster is immense. Officials say that Typhoon Haiyan has killed almost 4,000 people, has left over 1,000 missing and an estimated four million people have been displaced as a result. Just imagine...that's the entire population of Ireland. It's truly overwhelming.

I know everything is relative, but dear God we moan and whinge about the state of the country, the bankers, the government and even the bloody weather. If what's happening in the Philippines teaches us anything it's to thank God for what small mercies we have here.

Of course we have hundreds of thousands of people suffering and fighting their own battles on a daily basis, but it's incomparable with what's happening in the Philippines and we'd do well to remember that on our worst days.

I was so glad to hear that the Irish government had donated three million euro to help those affected by the disaster. I wish it could have been more because the scale of the disaster is astronomical.

Collections are still taking place all over the country and through aid agencies here, while people can also pledge support online through a host of different campaigns.

I just really hope people dig deep because, as bad as things are for us, these people have lost absolutely everything.

New Ross Standard

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