AS the government grapples with the immense problem of moving local and foreign aid to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), netizens took to social media to mobilize support and call on people to donate whatever they can to the victims.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were the favorite sites to launch appeals and give instructions where donations can be dropped off. Some posted photos of victims being washed away by huge waves and communities that were turned into wastelands after the typhoon passed.
Most of the posts on Facebook appealed for prayers and kindness from people, even urging them to post less “selfie” and “food” pictures but more of photos on the Visayas situation.
Undoubtedly, Facebook has become government’s main venue to remind broadcasters and print media not to flash gory pictures or footages of victims especially on primetime.
A post on Yahoo news that was shared by FB readers moved many. It went: “If you have old, huggable stuffed toys you’re willing to let go of, now is the perfect time to let them meet “new friends.”
Advocacy group, 1000 bearhugs, has set up a toy drive to help traumatized children recover faster.
The group said that stuffed toys could serve as an integral part of recovery of the young survivors.
“Conflicting reports say hundreds have died due to monster storm Yolanda. Children who survived, however, may experience heavy trauma,” the group added.
“A lot of them were crying because they lost a toy… but a toy is also the number one tool to release their trauma,” says Mon Corpuz of the Black Pencil Project, who is also leading the 1000Bearhugs drive.
The Philippine Red Cross, International Red Cross and Red Crescent and the Department of Social Welfare also used Facebook to post the areas where volunteers could go to help repack relief goods and where private donors can send their cash or goods for the troubled island provinces in the Visayas.
Through a Facebook post, it was learned that the University of the Philippines Visayas-Tacloban College and the UP School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte also sustained damage.
Another FB subscriber, Gwen Carino, posted: “Just been informed that there’s a small town called Basey in my friend, Dennis Serfino’s home province of Samar. It’s a coastal town that sits just across Tacloban. As of yesterday, 443 bodies have been recovered, over 2,000 still missing, and about 90% of the structures have been wiped out. “