3 months after Haiyan, it's #PHthankyou
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Saying "thank you" is more fun in the social media capital of the world.
On Saturday, February 8, exactly 3 months after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched #PHthankyou, an online campaign thanking the rest of the world for helping rebuild heavily-damaged areas in the Visayas.
When the strongest typhoon in recent history made 6 landfalls last Nov 8, 2013, it left along its path unprecedented destruction and grief. It killed more than 6,000 people and left more than 4 million homeless.
But it only took a few days before international help came pouring in – mostly in the form of relief goods, medical missions, and pledged funds for reconstruction of infrastructure. (READ: Aid, donations from int'l community)
Posts from Hollywood artists, international musicians and sportsmen also appeared on social media. (READ: International celebrities express sympathy for Yolanda victims)
In its #PHthankyou campaign, the DOT said: “We are Filipinos. We are resilient, grateful, and fun-loving people. And that's why even as we are still recovering, we already want to show our thanks."
During the De La Salle University's Global Business Conference, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said that at Saturday midnight, the country also had ad billboards simultaneously go up in other countries for #PHthankyou:
- Times Square in New York
- Galeries Lafayette in Paris
- Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo
- Piccadilly Circus in London
- Ion on Orchard Road, Singapore
- Sydney, Australia
- Berlin, Germany
- Toronto, Canada
- Seoul, South Korea
At Gallerie Lafayette in Paris: The Philippines Says THANK YOU pic.twitter.com/fesrwBhEAH— Mon Jimenez (@Jimenez_Mon) February 7, 2014
At Picadilly Circus in London,UK: The Philippines Says THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/jOZ0S7Zc6l— Mon Jimenez (@Jimenez_Mon) February 7, 2014
A one-minute video posted on the department's website featured smiling Filipinos facing the camera and saying “thank you” in different ways.
The video ends with these words: “The Philippines says thank you. You're making all the difference.”
Watch the video below:
The campaign's Thunderclap page already gained 1,434 supporters, with an estimated reach of close to 2 million people.
Here are some of the tweets for #PHthankyou, as compiled by Rappler:
'Enormous' shelter needs
Russell Geekie, spokesman for the UN disaster agency in the Philippines, told Agence France-Presse the government-led relief effort has addressed many of the survivors' most acute emergency needs.
It was shifting to an "early recovery" phase with a focus on restoring livelihoods for millions of people, he added.
However, "shelter needs remain enormous". (READ: UN hit for not funding Yolanda shelters)
"Obviously we talk about resilient people, but the scope of the disaster and destruction is such that it's very hard. There are remaining psycho-social needs that need to be met," he said.
These include finding the hundreds missing to give their families "closure".
In December 2013, after all, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the UN wants to "mobilize at least $800 million," or about P33.6 billion, over the next 12 months to help Yolanda survivors. Geekie said the appeal is about 42% funded.
President Benigno Aquino III has said the rebuilding effort would take at least four years and require $8.17 billion (P360.9 billion) in funding. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com