Documenting Aid in the Philippines

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Posted on 1/9/2014

When Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines in November 2013, the world took notice. One of the most powerful tropical storms ever recorded, Haiyan devastated many communities (including those in which ChildFund works), leaving many families homeless and without the bare essentials. Millions of dollars have been donated to the Philippines to aid in the relief efforts, and ChildFund's teams in the country were among the first to respond in the wake of the disaster. Recently, a filmmaker joined the effort, deciding to see how aid funding could help families affected by Haiyan by spending $25,000 to help those in need and documenting the experience.

Helping Hands

Casey Neistat was originally approached by film studio 20th Century Fox to make a promotional video for the current movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." However, after considering the studio's proposal, Neistat told executives that he wanted to use the funding instead to travel to the Philippines and help those hardest hit by the typhoon.

Neistat documented every stage of his experience, beginning with his arrival in Manila and his subsequent purchase of food, medicines and other essentials. He and his crew then loaded the supplies onto a bus and traveled to the city of Cebu, where many of the rescue and recovery operations were based. At one point shortly before he departed for the city, Neistat filmed a shot of the supplies that the $25,000 budget had bought and said, "This is what my 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty's' promotional budget looks like."

Urgent Needs

Although the full extent of the damage wrought by Haiyan may not be known for some time, there can be no doubt regarding the storm's destructive power. More than 6,000 people died, and 550,000 homes were destroyed; the emotional trauma faced by families is not as easily quantified. Early evacuations of many areas in the days preceding the storm saved lives, but the devastation caused by Haiyan was unprecedented.

ChildFund continues to work in the Philippines to provide resources to families affected by the storm, as well as long-term efforts to give children psychosocial support to help them regain confidence and strength after the storm. We could not help as many families without the support of our donors. Typhoon Haiyan may have faded from the headlines, but millions of people still need your help. Please consider making a donation to our Philippines Relief and Recovery Fund today. Your generosity will make a big difference in the lives of families trying to rebuild their lives.