Monday, December 21, 2015

More should be done to aid disaster-prone Philippines.

My letter to MediaCorp’s TODAY Newspaper on the above issue gets published today, Monday 21st December 2015.

As the world celebrates Christmas, millions in the Philippines will literally be having a silent night from the effects of yet another typhoon (“Typhoon kills four, cuts power in Philippines”; Dec 16).

Every year, its citizens must live in fear as the country experiences 20 typhoons, on average, many of which cause destruction to homes.

The Philippines’ provinces have beautiful beaches and colourful festivals — rooted in Christianity and dating back to the Spanish colonial period — that delight its people, attract tourists and help boost the economy.

However, left unchecked, the effects of the numerous natural disasters will, in time, cripple the Philippine economy and cause suffering.

Besides power being cut off, communications may break down, leaving many in anxiety. Prolonged anxiety is a lead-up to mental disorders.

As a community, well-off nations, philanthropists and charitable organisations should do their part in raising funds and providing expertise, such as in engineering and housing, to improve lives in the Philippines.

For example, emergency generators with solid concrete walls could be built in strategic areas.
Churches in Singapore could set aside weekly collections from parishioners to help fund infrastructural improvements, while the Tzu Chi Foundation can continue with the cash-for-work
programme that helps Filipinos reconstruct their homes and surrounding areas.



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