Philippine Flood Survivors Say Hundreds of Children Were Snatched from their Beds
January 10, 2012
Mothers here are telling horror stories of how their children were “robbed from their beds” by flood waters that killed over 1200 during the Christmas holidays. Indigenous missionaries, with help from Christian Aid Mission, are rushing assistance to help rebuild broken lives, homes and churches in the aftermath of Typhoon Washi. Over 300,000 were left homeless. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Christian Aid is forwarding emergency finances.
“Three of the indigenous missions we help have already sent relief teams,” says Stephen Van Valkenburg, the Southeast Asian Director at Christian Aid, “and we are sending financial aid to them yet so much more is needed. Local missionaries have organized feeding and evacuation centers to help the survivors whose homes, churches and mission centers were destroyed in the flash flooding.” The rebuilding efforts will take months and more financial aid is needed to help rebuild thousands of homes and structures.
Contributions to the Philippines Christmas Disaster Fund can be made online or by phone and should be designated to 801-DIS. To give via credit card, call 800-977-5650.
Mourning mothers in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro told of waking up in the night when the rushing waters were sweeping through the twin cities, only to find that some or all of their children already gone. One woman who lost all five of her children was only able to escape her own death by clinging to a floating log.
Indigenous missionary leaders say that the most urgently needed supplies can be purchased in the Philippines including food, blankets, kitchen utensils, medicine, mosquito nets, temporary shelters and water.
The flash flood hit the towns just after midnight and continued until 7 a.m. the following morning. Most survivors told stories of clinging to roof tops and flotsam.
One missionary pastor said, “The situation is overwhelming . . . so many deaths and thousands still missing. Some are from our own church. We have buried most of the dead and are moving on to do what we can do to help survivors. From among ourselves we raised some food, clothing and other needs. Now we are asking Christian Aid to tell our brethren overseas of our need for prayers and whatever support they can share. Temporary shelters are needed and much help in rebuilding.
“Some friends have already started to give, but the next few weeks will be critical and we hope we can help the victims, as well as share the gospel in the process.”
The flash floods came in the middle of the night, catching many people unaware. As a result, many families lost children, who panicked and were swept away in the early hours. Many victims in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan are still without electricity or shelter.
Another indigenous missionary emailed a cry for help to Christian Aid: “I would appreciate it if you would pray and share this tragedy with other Christians in the USA that they might help meet the needs of the survivors. We are praying and hoping that we will have what we need so we can help the survivors.
“Thousands of people are homeless, and the survivors are mourning for their lost loved ones and suffering for lack of essentials like water and power.”