Again. Once again, the wrath of Mother Nature has left a section of the globe battered, bruised, broken. And at a level of helplessness beyond comprehension. Super Typhoon Haiyan bellowed, banged and unashamedly assaulted its way through the archipelago Asian corridor of the Philippines, Vietnam and traces of S/E China. In a period of less than 72 hours, harrowing weather maps and projected storm paths turned into close-up images of the devastation to the places, and people, caught in the storm’s fury. Broken. Simply broken.

Estimates of those losing their lives to the relentless rains, and follow-on storm surge continue to climb. ‘Thousands’ becomes the multiplier used for those officially declared fatalities, hundreds-of-thousands the multiplier of those homeless and hopeless (670,000 displaced at latest count). Media networks providing updates double as mega-messengers  for survivors reaching out to family members to share they are fine, though others could not be saved, they are gone…

Yet one, just one, tiny ray of hope emerges through it all – Baby Bea Joy Sagales, born in a moment of such ache, bringing a flicker of reason to keep believing.

Still, the reality of the need is there, everywhere. Latest appeal from the United Nations implores that the world dig deep to assist in finding the US$ 301 million projected as essential recovery funds. Over and above the UN, endless appeals coming through the screens – television, computer, tablets, mobile phones. Please give. Now. And then  – social media becoming a way of finding the funds, and also finding lost loved ones. It is all a deeply saddening deja vu of global crisis, some traumatic act of God, or man, somewhere in the world….the devastating crisis in Asia in 2004 that taught the world  the word ‘tsunami’, the ache of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina,  the earthquake that broke through Haiti’s foundations and future in 2010, on to 2011 and the Japan earthquake and tsunami…earthquakes in China in 2012, Pakistan in 2013…on and on and on.

Uninterested and immune to global economic crisis and recovery, geo-political events, other forces, forces of nature turn atmospheric forces into life-altering events. And, once again, Mother Nature at her worst inspires humanity at its best.

As appeals come through the wires, human wiring of hearts and minds becomes alerted of the need to think beyond oneself.

Nations united give –

Organisations give –

Individuals give –

And for those responding to the appeals, a deep sense of satisfaction is felt hitting the SEND button on the ‘Donate Now’ websites. It is the deeply personal feeling of loving “because I can” in an way a world away from personal expression of wealth, of worth. This is an personal expression of what really matters.

The blessing – obvious. Those who need soon shall receive. Those who care living far away reach out to show they are there.

But within he compassion lies a risk – the risk so well articulated after the 2004 Tsunami, Katrina, Haiti – so many crises. The risk of “crisis fatigue”. With so much happening, with so many needy causes, how does one decide? How does one prevent the blessing of being able to help from turning into the burden of feeling obliged to help. Or worst – overwhelmed and exhausted by the unquenchable need?

Everyday, across the globe, needy causes are there, some more visible and fashionable than others. The gift? Being able to feel the sense of satisfaction in hitting SEND.

But that feeling need not be once/twice a year. And need not be focused on the high profile, high appeal causes. Global crisis remind us of the need to look local for projects, programmes, particular circumstances that, every month, beyond crisis but rather because they simply need the support, can benefit in some way from small contributions. Momentum of support is  often far more valuable than masses of support once-off.

For those in need, every single day, ‘being there‘ is about being genuinely being present to address present day challenges, renewing future hope.

All it takes is hitting the pause button and thinking, feeling, which 2 to 3 projects feel right, and feel good in being a regular contributor.

The gift? That glowing feeling of “I’ve done something good for someone else, somewhere…because I can”



Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2013