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The Latest in the Philippines—and How You Can Help

The stories flooded in all weekend long; each one more heartbreaking than the next. Entire families wiped out in minutes; children being ripped from their mother's arms. And then, in the face of all that heartache, some absolute miracles have emerged—like the inspiring story of Emily Ortega, who had to cling to a post to survive the typhoon and swim her way to a clinic to give birth.

If you found yourself reading the headlines all weekend in wide-eyed disbelief, we were right there with you.

Typhoon Haiyan has been labeled the most devastating storm to ever hit land, and has sadly claimed a staggering 10,000 lives so far—in just one city. Tacloban, the city at the storm's epicenter, is normally home to a population of 220,000, with a teeming port. But now, it's become a graveyard "strewn with dead bodies," according to John Ging, director of operations at the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

What's worse is that the sheer size of the devastation isn't even known yet, and as relief operations struggle to make contact with areas that have been completely closed off for days, the death toll is expected to spike sharply.

"I think what worries us the most is that there are so many areas where we have no information from, and when we have this silence, it usually means the damage is even worse," said Joseph Curry of the U.S. Organization Catholic Relief Services, to Reuters.

U.S. Marines have swooped in to help relief efforts, and the U.S. government has already sent an aircraft carrier to step up rescue operations in areas where roads and bridges have been completely destroyed. But much, much more help is still needed.

Wondering what you can do? Here's a rundown of charities and programs in need of donations:

Red Cross

So far, the Red Cross has set up 1,200 evacuation centers throughout the Philippines, and is sending in additional food and emergency supplies as quickly as it can. The organization is also working tirelessly to connect families to each other, since entire villages are cut off from phone and Internet. Donate here.

UNICEF

UNICEF has already sent supplies to 3,000 families, and is currently working to airlift even more to over 10,000 families affected. Donate here.

Save the Children

If you want your donations to be sent directly to children and their families, Save the Children has set up the Typhoon Haiyan Children’s Relief Fund for victims in the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam. Sadly, reports say that two in five victims are children, which means that the need for support is tremendous. Donate here.

World Food Programme

With stores, crops and many other food supplies under water, the UN’s World Food Programme has sent over 44 tons of high energy biscuits to the hardest hit areas of the Philippines. Donate here.

Habitat for Humanity

Devoted to helping families find shelter, Habitat for Humanity has already sent in disaster relief staff to the Philippines, and is working hard to provide shelter for as many victims as possible. Donate here.

Image via USAToday/AP

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