Weekly Columns

While disagreements abound in the international community, the worldwide response to tragedy always brings us together. The best of humanity is on display when we reach out to people in need whether down the street, across the country or around the globe. 

The best current example is in the Philippines, where relief efforts are underway after the country was hit by Typhoon Haiyan in early November. One of the strongest storms on record, Haiyan was named a ‘super typhoon’ and Filipino authorities estimate more than 10,000 people have died as a result of the storm. This is a reminder of how fragile life is and just how vulnerable we are to Mother Nature.

The clock is ticking on reaching devastated areas where Filipino residents are suffering from lack of food and clean water. Those in need of medical attention are overwhelming the hospitals and clinics, many of which are operating without power and the necessary resources to care for patients. 

The United States has always been a beacon of hope to people suffering around the world and we’re doing our part to continue to help. The USS George Washington, a Navy aircraft carrier, is providing emergency relief to the Philippines. This allows us to provide large scale humanitarian assistance, including the ability serve thousands of meals a day to a starving population, convert sea water into 400,000 gallons of drinkable water, provide medical assistance and move supplies to areas where a destroyed infrastructure makes it difficult and near impossible to reach. 

This goodwill effort will save thousands of people, provide invaluable positive attention, build a trust with citizens and help with future diplomatic issues. Our response is a testament to the character of our country, but this role is not just limited to government. Other organizations are mobilizing efforts to provide assistance and Americans, showing the true spirit of our generosity and compassion, are overwhelmingly supportive of these recovery efforts. Our office has received a lot of interest from Arkansans anxious to help citizens of the Philippines. The State Department is working with two non-profit organizations to provide immediate assistance to victims of the disaster in the Philippines. Additionally, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has a list of resources, including links to identify reliable and well-known organizations that make the most of your donations. 

Natural disasters have impacted the way people live in all corners of the world, including here in the Natural State. I know that I am joined by all Arkansans as we think of and pray for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Our response to this horrific event shows our commitment to making the world a better place.