For my 25th birthday in 2018, I travelled to the Philippines.
I was living in Japan at the time, so flew five hours to the city of Cebu before boarding a small plane to the even smaller island of Siargao. (I’m leaving out the part where I’m an embarrassingly nervous flyer because this isn’t supposed to be funny).
I had one of the best weeks of my life on that beautiful island.
But last Thursday, Typhoon Rai tore Siargao apart with winds of more than 121 miles per hour.
95% of the island has been completely destroyed.
15,000 homes have to be rebuilt.
And close to 500 people have been killed across the archipelago.
A week before Christmas, families who welcomed me with home cooked meals of rice and chicken washed down with Tanduay rum are either dead, missing or without food, water and a home. And I have no way of knowing — because a week later, there is still no electricity.
Those who survived the devastation are now facing dehydration and starvation, with people still trapped in storm-ravaged areas in desperate need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Why must a slow, simple island that contributes so little to the climate crisis bear the brunt of it’s terrifying effects?
Why must those who share everything they have be left with nothing?
And why must my monthly SCAB always be about me?
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