November 12, 2013

Voices from the Philippines

By Brittany Tedesco

Our thoughts and prayers this week focus on the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record.

Upon first learning about the impending storm and the evacuation efforts being made, we were hopeful that loss of life would be minimal. Each new death toll, however, tells a different story – the first being an estimated 100 lives. . .which then jumped to 1,200. The latest update reports a staggering 10,000 lives lost in only one city.

Wandering through wreckage and dead bodies, the homeless multitudes steel themselves against the nauseating stench of human decay in a desperate search for food, water, and shelter.

As much as I try to contemplate the sights, the smells, the terror—the utter affront to the minds, bodies, souls, and spirits of those in the midst of such horror—I am unable to know what they´re truly experiencing.

Thus I thought it best to share with you the following excerpts from Christian Aid-supported ministries in the Philippines, the majority of which were mercifully spared from serious harm.

“In the southern Philippine peninsula some areas are totally destroyed and some people are losing their minds from hunger or from the loss of their families. People are becoming violent. They are looting business establishments just to find food, rice, and milk. Dead bodies are just lined up in the center of the roads wrapped with used jute sacks. Many were trying to help but to no avail because airports were closed and roads were blocked by the fallen trees and power lines. Government efforts are not sufficient to attend to all the needs of the people.”

“Our church and parsonage was greatly damaged. Please pray for us as we face the challenges of reconstructing our lives.”

“We are fine here in Manila, but our mission group living in another area suffered a lot of damage to their school, with people around them losing everything. Keep this country in your prayers during these tough times – the earthquake several weeks ago and now this super storm.”

“We praise the Lord for sparing us from the super typhoon and would like to credit it to your prayers. On the other hand, we are so sorry for the whole of Visayas. There are countless believers and Christian workers whose homes were totally damaged and even washed away. In Iloilo provinces alone there are more than half a million people crowded in deteriorating evacuation centers."

“Our province is not so affected, but it leaves a scar for us now that our discipleship hut is totally damaged. Pray for the children as they walk along the trail to school on a muddy and slippery road. There is no place for us to go now that the hut has been destroyed.”

“The tail of the typhoon split after the third landfall and veered away from our island. We have some flooding at the school but none of the strong winds that were expected. Last month we also had some flooding, waist deep at the school and then the earthquake 10 days later.”

“We in Bacolod City survived the Typhoon but our hearts ache for the rest of our countrymen in Tacloban and other parts of Visayas. One of our mission workers lives in an area in which 75% was destroyed, but we are not able to reach her because there´s no power. We´ve heard about another typhoon that is supposed to follow the same path as Haiyan coming this Wednesday. May the Lord be merciful to us.”

Click here to learn more about the situation in the Philippines and how you can help.