Horror and Help in the Philippines
This report on catastrophic destruction from Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines gives glimpse of how the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ Philippines is serving to bring relief to those affected. The report comes via Dr. Louis Whelchel, a ministry staff member, and was compiled by my associate,Traci Anderson.
Super Typhoon Haiyan, the largest tropical cyclone ever recorded, struck the central Philippines on November 7, impacting the lives of more than 25 million people. The Category 5 super storm harbored winds exceeding 200 mph along with torrential rain and storm surge, causing massive destruction and loss of life.
An estimated 10,000 have died. Hundreds of thousands are without homes, food, water and other basic necessities. Some 45,000 families are in need in the city of Tacloban alone. Many relief agencies and individuals are engaged.
CCC-Southeast Asia, Philippine CCC, GAiN Philippines and IGSL (Int'l Graduate School of Leadership) have more than 200 staff on the ground coordinating efforts to provide medical and relief services to the affected areas. The joint effort dubbed “Project Yolanda” has adopted 4,000 families in Tacloban and 500 in Ormoc and nearby areas.
There is an immediate need for relief supplies like food, clean water, clothes and various other essentials. Staff and volunteers are in the process of putting together packets of necessities to be distributed as quickly as possible.
These packets contain canned goods, rice, enough food for 5 days, bottled water, underwear, blankets, a towel, a sleeping mat, used clothes and toiletries. Staff and volunteers in Manila and all over the country who were not severely hit by the typhoon are also preparing relief packets that are sent regularly to the affected areas. The packets are an incredible way for staff to minister to their neighbors who are hurting and reach out to them with the love of Jesus Christ.
Surviving Among the Survivors
This effort comes at a cost. There is risk involved when giving help to the truly desperate.
Staff try to blend in in order to more effectively reach those not aggressive enough to push to the front of the relief line, such as mothers, children and the sick.
They have learned some helpful lessons about surviving among the survivors:
1) Keep a low profile presence, especially regarding your supplies. When the victims are starving and desperate, you might get overwhelmed by a deluge of demand.
2) Make an “Info Wall” in a public area so people can post names and/or pictures of missing relatives and loved ones. Bring lots of paper, tape and pens. These could be your only means of communication. Some survivors write on paper plates, cardboards and/or any flat surface they can write on and have rescuers/media people take photos of their proof of life messages intended for families and friends outside the affected areas.
3) At night, camp out in a secure and secluded area. Be sensitive to the survivors. If you’re hungry and don’t have enough food to share with others, practice discretion when and where to eat. Remember that many survivors haven’t eaten anything for days.
4) Cook your food in an inconspicuous way. Don’t forget to bring extra can openers and lighters.
5) Wear old and dirty clothes so you can blend in with the crowd. Don’t stick out and attract attention to yourself. It is best to look like you’re one of the survivors. Get down from your vehicle from afar and don’t walk in packs so as not to attract attention to yourselves.
6) Place all stuff in old used bags.
7) Be discreet in using your cell phones. Everyone needs to call someone. To conserve cell phone batteries, set a specific day and time when you will talk on the phone. Be careful to secure your phone. Remember this is a very important tool to communicate to others.
8.) You, as relief volunteers, need to expect challenging situations, such as no decent water supply nor enough food.
9) You also need to assign a tall landmark as an assembly point in case anarchy breaks out. Don't Panic.
Praying for the Philippines
Please be praying for these urgent needs:
1. Pray that relief goods will be transported as soon as possible so it will meet the immediate needs of the survivors.
2. Pray for God's overflowing provision. The need for food, drinking water, shelter, medicines (especially anti-tetanus shots) is urgent.
3. Many are getting sick, both the very young kids and adults, due to starvation, lack of shelter and the weather. Pray that more volunteer medical personnel will be deployed and enough medicines will be provided as soon as possible. Pray that they will be given immediate care or many more will die because of their desperate condition.
4. Pray for accessibility of planes and boats to transport relief goods.
5. Pray for more volunteers to help with relief distribution.6. Pray for safety and protection for survivors and relief workers. There is danger.
Give Thanks to God
1. IGSL was able to send yesterday the first batch of relief goods (1000 family packs) via C-130 and distributed through their military contacts. No one was allowed to go with the relief goods due to security risks.
2. The continued flow of relief goods from Manila is now in place through our partnership with Operation Compassion and a former PCCC Missionary who is now connected with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
3. Packing of goods has been easier through the help of many volunteers in the different centers. Thank you so much for your prayers and donations.
4. Cell phone communication is now possible in Tacloban.
5. A free truck is now available for the Ormoc and Tacloban relief distribution.
What Can You Do?
You can see some of the relief operations here:
You can give here:
What about you? What can you do?