Author Paula Proeve
Let’s be honest: We are in the comfortable situation of being able to collect utopias for a better future. We have food, drink, a roof over our heads and a warm home in winter. But what if all that is missing? What if – in the truest sense of the word – after a natural disaster, all that is left is bare survival? Then it’s a question of existence and the future is reduced for the time being to this one word: existence. This is what happened on 16 December 2021: a typhoon devastated the Philippines. Several hundred deaths, countless injured and people without shelter.
Our young co-author Paula Proeve usually writes about utopias in the fashion and clothing industry. Now she has experienced this catastrophe in the island state more or less directly through a close friend who was on the ground at that very moment. Her impulse: to help people in order to give them hope for a future again. So today, a somewhat different kind of eyewitness account, combined with an appeal and a request to help. Thank you for your commitment, Paula!
Typhoon “Rai” recently devastated the Philippines. There were numerous deaths and injuries. The population now continues to suffer the severe consequences of the storm.
It’s December 25, 2021, and I get a message from a family friend: Merry Christmas, give my love to everyone. Spontaneously I call him. I completely forget what time it is with him in the Philippines. He answers the phone. His voice sounds completely tired and finished. Then, on Christmas morning, he tells me how his Christmas went: Not at all.
That’s how a large part of the Filipino population felt. Christmas wasn’t cancelled because Santa Claus didn’t come, but because he didn’t even make it to the islands. The reason? The typhoon “Rai” or called “Odette” by the locals. On December 16, the storm hit the archipelago at speeds of up to 195 kilometers per hour. In the United States, the super typhoon was classified as a category five hurricane.
The storm caused more than 48,000 people to flee. Countless roofs flew off houses, entire villages were flooded and power poles fell onto the streets. Hospitals were also affected. Large areas are still without power supply or telephone connection. According to the police, about 150,000 houses have been destroyed, and many people have been left homeless from one minute to the next. So far, there are 375 dead and many injured.
Whole islands are now isolated from the outside world. An estimated five million people are currently living without electricity. Help is on the way and on the ground, however, it is not enough. Francis Vagara’s Instagram page @berlinhelpsphilippines is happy to receive any support and donations. The goal now is to help as many people as possible and give them a roof over their heads again. Santa Claus didn’t come this year, but hopefully many guardian angels and helpers did.