x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

A time for solidarity

The storm-smashed part of the Philippines is in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

There are horrific scenes in and near the Philippine city of Tacloban, where thousands died in what may be the strongest typhoon ever recorded making landfall.

Now the storm has moved on but thousands of people are homeless and cut off from basic needs such as food, shelter, and clean water, not to mention electricity.

The world’s attention has been drawn to the disaster, and promises of aid are flowing in – including $10 million (Dh36.7mn) from the government of the UAE. The US sent troops to help with humanitarian work. And around the world Filipino diaspora communities are organising aid efforts of their own on an admirable scale.

This is not the right time to discuss the shortcoming of the Philippine government’s preparedness or civil defence and aid capacity. Right now, it is time for the world – governments and NGOs and individuals – to act, by helping the victims through aid.

In the face of overwhelming natural disaster, our common humanity drives us to emotional – and financial – solidarity with those who have survived the storm but lost kinfolk, homes, and livelihoods. We do not need a self-interested reason to help our fellow man.