Philippines Disaster Drawing Limited Interest and Donations

Aid being distributed to mothers affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines - image by the UK Department for International Development

Aid being distributed to mothers affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines - image by the UK Department for International Development

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8. Over 13 million Filipinos are believed to have been affected by the storm, which ruined livelihoods by destroying crops, livestock and fishing boats. At least 3,976 people have been killed by the storm and nearly 1,600 are still missing, according to Al Jazeera. In spite of the gravity of the disaster, however, it appears that people in the U.S. have so far contributed limited interest and donations to disaster relief in the Philippines. People in the U.S. seem less sympathetic toward the current disaster in the Philippines than toward disasters in previous years like the 2011 tsunami in Japan, according to the Pew Research Center.


Fewer Americans Following Typhoon Aftermath

Pew surveyed 1,013 adults in the U.S. between November 14 and 17 and found that fewer are following the typhoon aftermath as compared to disasters in the past. 32% of Americans say they are “very closely” following news about the typhoon aftermath in the Philippines, compared to 55% who closely followed the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, 58% the 2004 tsunami that struck coastlines around the Indian Ocean, and 60% the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Americans Following Typhoon Aftermath Less than Some Other Major Disasters

Even across age groups interest in the Philippines typhoon is low. Among adults 65 and older, 45% are following Haiyan news very closely compared to 67% who closely monitored the 2011 Japan tsunami. Adults younger than 40 especially haven’t been following Haiyan news, with just 20% closely following the aftermath now compared to 47% who closely followed news of the Japan tsunami in 2011.

Across Age Groups, Philippines Disaster Draws Less Interest than Others


Fewer Americans Donate to Disaster Relief in the Philippines

Through the time this survey was conducted (about one week after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines), only about 14% of Americans report that they’ve donated to relief efforts. This number is much lower than the amount of people who, after a similar timeframe, donated to tsunami relief efforts in Japan in 2011 (21%). While 17% of Americans say they plan to donate to typhoon relief efforts, 67% say they do not plan to donate.

One-in-Three Plans to Donate to Philippines Relief

Despite these dismal numbers, there’s still hope. It’s common for the public to donate to relief causes after the first week. After the earthquake in Haiti, for example, just 18% donated in the the first several days compared to 52% who donated three or four weeks after the earthquake. Perhaps in the coming weeks more people will donate to typhoon relief in the Philippines.


Make a Difference: Donate!

If you want to help provide those suffering from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan with life-saving supplies and medical attention, consider donating to UNICEF or another organization working on the ground in the Philippines. For more information on how to help, click here.

Featured image via UK Department for International Development

Lauren Mobertz

By Lauren Mobertz

Lauren is the former managing editor for DashBurst. One part geek, one part urban nomad, she is constantly scouting for the latest tech and world news. In the evenings you'll find Lauren running in strange places or attempting to dance salsa.

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