Guilt because here I was, receiving hundreds of messages of concern and commiseration from friends all over the United Kingdom when the only thing I have endured over the weekend was suffering by association.
Thank you, friends, my family escaped unscathed as Typhoon Haiyan – Yolanda, as we named her in the Philippines, swerved away from the capital city Manila where they live and set out across the South China Sea for Vietnam. But others have not been so lucky.
You do not need me to repeat the awful statistics, the gruesome coverage, the details of lives swept away by a storm that will make history as the most powerful ever to make land fall since meteorologists began to keep weather records.
But what can we do? This question has been asked over and over again in the messages that have come pouring into my inbox. WHAT CAN WE DO?
We are not on the ground to share the suffering, we are not there to help pack boxes or offer comfort to those who have lost everything.
This Philippine disaster with talk of storm surges and families swept away has reminded many of the Japanese tsunami of March 2011.
At the time, a group of British authors led by young adult author Keris Stainton set up the campaign Authors for Japan. It galvanized booky people here and abroad to donate books, merchandise, manuscript critiques even character names to successfully raise more than £12k for the cause.
Keris et. Al. on hearing about the Philippines have, without hesitation, decided to go for it again with Authors for the Philippines.
On behalf of my suffering country, I thank all the kind people who are participating in this auction – let us show the world that good can follow bad. The Philippines was a poor country to start with and the road to recovery is going to be long and arduous. With your support, not only will we be able to help the victims of the disaster but make sure that they are not forgotten, even after the headlines are gone.
MARAMING SALAMAT PO.