Dear blog-reading folks: I just want to let you all know that we at Hacienda de Meimei are actually safe from harm. We have not been evacuated, our house has not been devoured by flood waters, and my family and I - including my parents, nephew, cousin, household help, and DogMei - were able to weather out the storm together over the weekend. Thanks be to God.
However, a great big chunk of Metro Manila is still underwater, and badly damaged from the storm. And I, for one, am having flashbacks to the worst disasters of the decade: Hurricane Katrina. Indian Ocean tsunamis. The Hawaii earthquake of 2006.* Watching the news doesn't help - less so when a government representative comes on to say something, anything - and I've already stopped reading my Facebook news feed to avoid getting too emotional.
Our family continues to pray for those who are still searching for their loved ones, still waiting for good news, still processing their losses.
View Ondoy situation map for Metro Manila in a larger map
Just a reminder: There is no school tomorrow - I repeat, No School Tomorrow, and that includes everyone from elementary to college - but relief efforts are still ongoing at schools and major universities. I've also heard - through Manuel Quezon III's blog - that Team Manila stores are currently taking in-kind donations for food and other supplies.
A comprehensive list of organizations currently receiving donations - including bank transfers for relief services - can be found here. Although some organizations are currently taking transfers via Paypal, a great majority of relief efforts are concentrated on in-kind donations of blankets, canned goods, and clothes, which are needed immediately.
Thank you all for reading this blog entry. Remember: stay safe and warm, don't forget to hug your loved ones, and - most of all, if you are so inclined - keep on praying.
*Edited, 9/28: I understand that this earthquake wasn't as bad as what just happened, but just to clarify: I was in Honolulu when it happened, and it did freak me out - I had never seen HNL so desolate as it was during that time. My hometown back home had just endured the worst of a Super Typhoon that left a lot of unevacuated folks dead some days before the earthquake hit, so that was not a pleasant experience for me. But let's move on, move forward... and reach out to those in need. Thank you.