We see numbers all the time, we have become desensitized to them. In a disaster especially, news outlets will report, hundreds dead, thousands displaced, so common and yet so unfortunately average.
This might at first seem a little hard to accept however if one person dear to us died, we would feel the ripples through our entire life, grief, sadness, loss and more. Yet for the thousands that die every day, they are simply numbers.
When you are on the ground, the reality is remarkably different. I arrived into Palu city in Indonesia–the site of many earthquakes followed by a tsunami–deployed with the team from Penny Appeal as a part of their emergency response in the first days following the tsunami. To arrive into Palu with its only airport terminal damaged by the earthquakes and damaged runways was a journey of difficulty in itself, we had to take a few planes around the islands of Indonesia, looking for an airport with planes landing in Palu.
Landing in this city and seeing the sheer destruction was incredible, homes, malls, main streets and public facilities all destroyed. People displaced from what used be their homes but now simply rubble mixed with sand from the sea carried by the tsunami into their streets and destroying their livelihoods and claiming the lives of many.
On the ground, it was no longer numbers, seeing children begging, people sitting in the rubble, distraught and stuck in the aftermath of this natural disaster unable to move, shocked, grieved and trying to survive.
On a particular street, the smell of dead bodies still buried by the rubble forced us to hold our breaths and hold our hearts for the sheer reality of death and destruction.
Penny Appeal is on the ground assessing and coordinating the delivery of aid into Palu. The people here are upset, frustrated and in need, waiting for the world to come to their aid, with very little of this aid here in Palu, many will be waiting for a while yet.
The amount of aid arriving into Palu pales in comparison to the amount of need, you can do something about that by supporting charities already on the ground like Penny Appeal by donating what you can and helping to create a huge impact in the lives of those who sit here and wait whilst the rest of the world reads the numbers and moves on.