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Haiyan Devastates Philippines: Search Dogs on Stand-by While More Support Needed

Learn about current relief efforts in the Philippines and how your donations can help.

Storm of the Century

The Philippines is no stranger to tropical storms; but even the islands known for being bombarded with some of the strongest typhoons of the last century have never seen a storm like Haiyan. With winds of 195 mph and gusts reaching 235 mph, Haiyan is far into the highest tier of categorization for hurricanes and is currently on record as the second-deadliest Philippine typhoon on record.

This status has been established from the current death toll of 2,400 and could be updated to the deadliest storm as more accurate information is revealed and the death toll continues to rise. Some projections for the toll are as high as ten-thousand. According to Philippine Interior Minister, Mar Roxas, "There are still many towns that have not sent in complete reports and out of the 40 towns of Leyte, for example, only 20 have been contacted. So there's another 20 towns with no communication."

The devastation of the hurricane has torn families apart and obliterated homes throughout one of the disaster zone. The afflicted zone reaches across eastern and central Philippines, concentrated on the two main islands of Samar and Leyte. Leyte’s capital alone has a population of more than 200,000- indicating that the death toll is likely higher than thought.

Current Relief Efforts Are Not Enough

Relief efforts have been trickling through the Philippines in the form of military aircraft, the USS George Washington. As of Tuesday, the carrier carries a group of 5,000 soldiers that intend to join 90 US marines currently in the Philippines and the 2,200 marines soon to be routed to the region.

However, with the immense scale of destruction and chaos, thousands of citizens are struggling to survive without food or water. In these trying times, the slightest bureaucratic delays could cause hundreds of deaths. This has lead to riots where starving survivors looted supplies from organizations like the Red Cross. The UN humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, has even stated that, “Even in Tacloban, because of the debris and the difficulties with logistics and so on, we have not been able to get in the level of supply that we would want to.”

The Search Dog Foundation has yet to be called to the Philippines but is prepared for the call to arrive at any minute. With the multitude of missing persons, the ten SDF-trained dogs could be extremely useful in search efforts. In order to be deployed, California Task Force 2 must be called upon to provide relief from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. SDF is also prepared to employ additional teams once the call is received.

How You Can Help

There are a wide variety of charities offering help to the Philippines though not all allocate donations directly to relief. One organization that allows for donations that are guaranteed to be allocated to Haiyan relief efforts is the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. You can donate through their website via PayPal or contact them to see how you can lend a hand. Other charities providing relief efforts include Unicef, Red Cross, and The Salvation Army.

We here at EntirelyPets offer our prayers and support to the victims of Haiyan and implore our readers to make a donation to one of the charities listed above. We hope that those affected by the storm stay safe and find relief as quickly as possible.