Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Tragic devastation in the Philippines--and how you can help

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Greg Peck
Monday, November 11, 2013

As we mark another Veterans Day today, many local veterans and longtime Janesville residents will never forget that the Philippines were the scene of the Bataan Death March during World War II. After the United States surrendered the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island on April 9, 1942, the Japanese marched about 75,000 Filipino and American troops 65 miles to prison camps. Thousands of soldiers perished during that march. Among soldiers on the march were “The Janesville 99,” the men of Company A and Headquarters Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.

Now, the Philippines are back in the news after Typhoon Haiyan, likely the deadliest natural disaster in that country's history, laid waste to the islands and killed perhaps as many as 10,000 people. No doubt, you've read about it or watched television coverage of the storm and its aftermath. In today's Gazette, The Associated Press says the ferocious typhoon washed away homes and buildings with sustained winds of 147 mph and a storm surge 20 feet tall. Corpses hang from trees, lie scattered on sidewalks and are buried in crushed buildings.

We can debate—and probably will—whether global warming is to blame for this death and destruction or whether the Filipinos are simply victims of the human habit of populating susceptible, low-lying lands.

Regardless, many of you likely are wondering how you can help the Filipinos recover. Desperate survivors have been looting stores for food and catching rain off roofs to use as drinking water. At least one U.S. supply plane has left for the islands.

So here is how you perhaps could help best. Donate to the American Red Cross. On its website, the Red Cross has set up a special donation page to help victims of the typhoon.

For more information, contact the Badger Chapter of the American Red Cross at 4860 Sheboygan Ave., Madison, WI, 53705; phone 877-618-6628.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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