Thousands of people have been killed by Typhoon Haiyan, and more than 9 million have been affected.Older people are particularly at risk and need help now.
If you’ve watched the news or read a newspaper in the past week,
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you know about the tragedy of Typhoon
Haiyan. You’ve seen the photos of volunteer doctors and nurses tending to families, and of rescuers searching for their loved ones in the rubble of destroyed towns. Many of you have donated to
relief efforts, for which we are thankful. HelpAge International and our partner organisations have been on the ground for over a week, providing food, shelter, and medical attention to older people and their families in need.
An urgent crisis remains that hasn’t been making the news.
In the Philippines, the
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number of dead is still being tallied, and rescuers are still searching for the missing. Even as you read this, too many older people are in shelters or on the streets, waiting for aid. People like Matildo Garbo and his
wife, Clara Escolar, both
72. They are waiting in an evacuation shelter with half of its roof blown away, with only a piece of plywood for a bed.
When natural disasters strike, it is older people who bear the brunt of the pain — and who make up a disproportionate number of fatalities.
Older people often suffer from poor mobility, and pre-existing health issues that become deadly in times of crisis. This is an opportunity to learn
from our recent history — 70% of the deaths after Hurricane Katrina were deaths of older people. In the Japanese earthquake, people over 60 represented 64% of deaths. This time, we must not forget older victims.
The COTA organisations across Australia have a significant number of older women as volunteers who are from the Philippines, which means we’re very
aware of the impact of this disaster. We ask you to consider donating to HelpAge International, who are working on the ground delivering aid with their partners. Survivors urgently need clean water, food and shelter.
Funds raised by HelpAge International will not only provide immediate response, but will also help affected older people in the Philippines recover from this crisis over the long-term.