Having witnessed first-hand communities ripped apart by natural disaster and conflict -- from Syria, to Haiti, to the Congo -- the resilience I've seen in the Philippines proves to be a powerful shield against any storm.
Homes have been flattened, school yards mangled and businesses blown away. These are things I'd come expecting to see. After a storm like the one on November 8, it's a wonder anything was left standing.
What can I write in its aftermath that could help ease their agony? What can I possibly say that might lighten their load? Following my visit to Tacloban and surrounding areas, I know that there are no words that will alleviate their suffering; no literary unction that will sooth their pain.
In philanthropy, strategic giving of time, talent, and treasure can increase impact. However, in disaster philanthropy, effective and efficient giving can make the difference between life and death.
The result can be that money isn't the limiting factor in the immediate relief effort. We found evidence of this both for the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan tsunami.
The similarities are striking - we've been in this place before. The past echoes in my brain and I feel as if I am sitting in my living room the day after Christmas in 2004.
Months from now, once the world's media has moved on to other stories and our focus has shifted to new issues, some will wonder how Typhoon Haiyan's victims are faring. Rest assured that there will be social workers in the Philippines and around the world standing by them and working tirelessly for them.
Our small effort and the many others like it that have sprung up among Filipino expat communities around the world matter in a big way.
Of the opportunities that arose from Sandy, groups are also citing advances in their management and operations to prepare for and respond to future disasters, including new emergency plans, technology acquisitions and cash reserves.
Hurricane Sandy's heartbreak is far from over. That's particularly true for parents. I'm talking about parents witnessing the ongoing impact of the devastating storm and its stressful aftermath on their children.
While this year's hurricane season has been thankfully quiet so far, it does have some now questioning global warming's role in all of this; that is, whether climate change will actually increase, or decrease, the likelihood of Superstorm Sandy-type storms. I say forget all that.
Despite the best of intentions, there is only so much anyone is capable of doing and there is only so much emotional energy available to invest. It's hard to be heroic all the time.
Storms highlight the importance of emergency preparedness and the responsibility we all have to be ready when disasters happen. We want everyone to make preparedness a priority this month. Here are some steps you can take now to get ready to help.
Providing aid for those in need is not a "handout," but rather the most basic responsibility of government. It is past time that our elected officials seize this moment and address the concerns of the taxpayers who elected them in the first place.
These tax rules may not make you whole again and certainly cannot replace precious sentimental items or life lost, but they can lighten your taxes and may even put more money in your pocket -- when you need it most.
My friends tease me, telling me I have to relax. But the truth is that we never know when these things might happen, and it's better to be prepared for the worst should the unwanted ever unfold.