The Philippines may seem very distant to you. As I live in Asia, the country is more or less in my backyard. And as the horrific images and shocking news pour in about the devastation wrought by superstorm Typhoon Haiyan, I feel the need to do something, however minor, to ease the suffering of the survivors.
Not since the tsunami of 2004 has there been a disaster of this proportion. I lived through that, too. My entire adopted country wore black for a month. Haiyan "only" killed 10,000 according to current estimates, not the 100,000 or more souls wiped out by the giant wave, but even 10,000 deaths is hard to imagine.
Meanwhile, life hangs by a thread for those who escaped Haiyan's wrath. They need food, shelter, medical care. One of my favorite charities, Medécins Sans Frontières, is already on the ground, caring for the sick and the wounded.
Below you'll find a snippet from my upcoming release Rough Weather (coming in January), which features a violent storm (though nothing like Haiyan). Read. Comment. Think about the poor people half a world away from you and if you can, donate to MSF or the Red Cross. And for every comment left here on this post, I'll donate 50 cents to MSF, up to a total of $50.
She fought the wind along every inch of the path through the dunes. Crouching low, leaning forward to offset its force, she battled against fierce gusts that threatened to sweep her from her feet and dash her to the sandy ground.
The intermittent showers had become a chill downpour. She paused to catch her breath, peering through the grey curtain that obscured her view of the sea ahead, and sent her mind questing for another trace of Marut. Thunder crashed around her. Otherwise there was no answer. Dread tightened into an aching knot in her chest as the rain beat down upon her nakedness and plastered her hair to her head.
The rain is hers, the sweet springs and the salty billows, all of the watery world.
Although usually she loved the rain, now it was just another obstacle keeping her from her lover. Enough. As soon as she issued the silent command, the precipitation slackened to a drizzle, though the wind continued its relentless assault. She had no time to wonder at this. Ahead of her, massive breakers rolled onto the beach, up to the very foot of the dunes. The rocks where she’d first seen Marut were half-submerged in a roiling whirlpool flecked with ivory foam.
Stepping into the seething ocean, she felt the current tug at her ankles and draw her deeper. A sheer wall of water loomed over her, gleaming like polished black glass. She dove into the wave before it could swallow her, kicking hard to send herself into calmer waters closer to the bottom.