Typhoon Yolanda devastated our town (Tanauan, Leyte), displaced family’s lives; SOS!

Community Health Nov 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Kalayaan_GdeVera_GREYIt has been two weeks since the world’s strongest storm, Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) made its way across Central Philippines, and practically wiped out many towns in Samar and Leyte . For days, thousands of people with nowhere to go for shelter, clean water, food and medical aid had to survive alongside the bodies of those who didn’t.

Our house in Tanauan destroyed by the typhoon

Our house in Tanauan destroyed by the typhoon

This has hit home for me as my family is from Tanauan, Leyte and for days there was no means of knowing whether or not they had survived such a devastating disaster. It was heartbreaking to watch every footage on every news coverage, seeing all those people who have lost their homes, jobs, and family, just trying to continue to live and survive with nothing.

I was relieved to finally hear that all my family members had miraculously survived and were accounted for, but to think of what they have yet to go through with the aftermath of Yolanda leaving without the necessary means of survival of food, shelter, water and medicine. It breaks my heart to think of the young children and babies, and am concerned for the health and wellness of all the survivors.

Ruins of our ancestral home.

Ruins of our ancestral home.

For days I had no appetite, and it was actually the perfect time as I was beginning my juice fast. I thought of the many people who haven’t eaten for days, weak and dehydrated, what their bodies must be going through physically, malnourished, and injured, surrounded by the toxins of the bodies lying around. An estimated 9.8 million people, including children are at risk of hunger and disease. They don’t need just any food to survive but they also need high density nutrient-rich supplementation filled with vitamins and minerals to get them back to health and replenish the fluids they have lost.

Foods that are available locally such as coconuts are an excellent source of nutrition. Coconut has been used in times of famine and war, it has even been used as an intravenous fluid to save many lives as it is the only natural substance that can be safely injected into the blood stream. When you grind the coconut meat and put it through a press you get coconut milk and that will provide a good source of fat which will help the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins. And for each cup of coconut milk it contains approximately 550 calories.That’s a lot of energy in one cup.

The town plaza with dead bodiesp right beside our ancestral home..  Plaza was transformed into a mass grave.  Very near what used to a residential area.

The town plaza with dead bodies right beside our ancestral home.. Plaza was transformed into a mass grave. Very near what used to be a residential area.

Coconut water is the fluid that is found in the cavity of the coconut when it is cracked open. It contains some fat but is relatively low in calories but filled with carbohydrates minerals that act as electrolytes; potassium, magnesium and sodium which helps to replenish fluids lost from dehydration, it is nature’s natural ‘Gatorade”.

Consuming foods rich in good fats and high in potassium promotes heart health and reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke. It has been used for kidney cleansing, energy and muscle performance, best of all it is abundant in the Philippines.

I have been organizing many fundraising events to help my family directly, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been very supportive in all their effort to help my family to survive. A special thank you to East Village Yoga, Pilates and Wellness for dedicating two days worth of classes and raising funds to buy food, and supplies for my hometown Tanauan, Leyte.

To all my family and friends who have reached out and given me support and prayers and hope, thank you for your continued efforts. We are forever grateful.

US medical mission talks to our 96-year old grandma injured during the storm surge but was helped to keep above the water by a vigilant and caring grandson.

US medical mission talks to our 96-year old grandma injured during the storm surge but was helped to keep above the water by a vigilant and caring grandson.

For those who would like to help out directly please visit


I am continuing to organize more fundraising events, one of which is on Friday November 29th 2013 from 6-9 p.m. at The Cupcake Place 1550 Kingston Rd., Pickering, Ontario for an evening of Holiday shopping and enjoy Cupcakes for a Cause, where a portion of all your purchases will be donated for relief aid for the Survivors of Yolanda in The Philippines.  For more info please visit www.thecupcakeplace.ca or email funds4philippines@gmail.com


(Kalayaan Garcia de Vera is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who graduated at the top of her class with honours at The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. As a member of the Canadian Holistic Association of Nutritionist Professionals, she has conducted weight loss studies and detoxification workshops. Her website is www.yourholisticnutritionist.com)