Update: Indigenous Missionaries Struggle with the effects of Typhoon Washi, comfort the survivors
Christian Aid has received update reports from two indigenous ministries that we support in the Philippines chronicling the ongoing relief effort after the devastation caused by Typhoon Washi last year.
The following is a report sent by one indigenous minister shortly after the typhoon hit:
December 16, 2011. Typhoon Washi hit northern Mindanao, striking the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The official death toll from last week’s massive flash flooding topped 1,000 on Wednesday as authorities said the lost count of how many more were missing in one of the worst calamities to hit the coastal region. The latest tally claims a total of 1,002 confirmed dead, including 650 in Cagayan de Oro and an additional 283 in Iligan. Thousands of survivors are homeless in need of shelter, food, kitchen utensils, medicines, blankets, mosquito nets and other supplies. Survivors are mourning their lost loved ones and suffer from lack of water and power.
I went to Cagayan de Oro to see our brothers and sisters. I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Daga who were able to save their one year old daughter but nothing else. It was midnight when the flood water started to rise; they quickly made it up to the roof top where they witnessed people crying for help and watched dead bodies go by. Finally they were rescued around 7am. Up to the present there have been continual retrieval operations and searches for missing persons. Let us pray for the needs of survivors.
Christian Aid asked for donations to assist in the Philippine recovery and was able to quickly distribute funds to indigenous ministries on the ground. The same ministry has sent an update to Christian Aid detailing their recovery efforts.
We praise and thank God for the successful distribution of the relief goods for the flash flood victims. The team enjoyed givning goods to more than 200 flood victims in two different camps. These camps had not received any outside aid since the last week in February. They were so happy when I mentioned that Christian Aid has a heart to help them and they want to express their heartfelt gratitude to Christian Aid’s donors.
Christian Aid has been receiving continual update reports from another indigenous ministry located in the Philippines who has been involved in ongoing relief efforts.
Two days after the killer typhoon struck, and after recovering the dead bodies of some of our church members, We were one of the few Non Government Organizations (NGO’s) that distributed relief goods to the flood victims particularly in areas where we have an outreach. In Cagayan de Oro City, we were able to give used clothes and food to at least 30 people (most are members of our church). In Iligan city, the brethren around fifty (50) of them and some non-members were housed in one of the ministry apartments. They were accommodated and fed for two days. On the third day, they went to evacuation centers for processing by concerned government agencies.
After a week, when donations and goods started to pour in, we donated more relief goods and some cash (for medicines) thru private agencies conducting relief operations (medical missions).
The last week of December, 2011, after burying our dead, some leaders visited the areas devastated by the typhoon and the brethren affected by the flood. We gave some cash to these brethren directly hit by the flood.
Before the end of the December, 2011, brethren again visited the ministry outreach in Balulang, Cagayan de Oro. This is the farthest of all parts of the city that was affected by the flood (people here rarely received relief goods since most of the goods were distributed in evacuation centers). We distributed relief goods and fed the kids. We were able to distribute goods to about 200 people, excluding the children. This time the people were evangelized and most if not all of them accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Almost the same number of people in Iligan also received relief goods from brethren.
The first week of January, 2012, with the help of some doctors from other Christian organizations, we conducted free medical clinics in both the cities of Iligan and Cagayan. In Iligan city, about 60 people were recipients to free medical consultation and medicines. These people also received some used clothes and canned goods. In Cagayan de Oro City, the same medical team served our brethren in Balulang. We were able to serve approximately 100 people. Patients received free medical consultation and were also given free medicines. In both free medical clinics conducted, the people were evangelized and most if not all of them received the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives.
Also during the 1st week of January, 2012 we distributed kitchen utensils and slippers to some flood victims and some children were given school supplies. Some of our brethren also conducted counseling as they visited some of the evacuation centers.
As more help are pouring in, the leadership decided to help the victims in a more permanent way. We plan to help the victims (especially our church members) build shelters in areas designated by government authorities.
Click here to see the second update