"The Devastation is Heartbreaking"

November 11, 2013

As their nation reels from incomprehensible destruction in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, several Philippine ministries are pleading for immediate help and the steadfast prayers of Christian Aid Mission supporters.

One of the strongest storms in recorded history–with winds reaching upwards of 235 mph–slammed ashore November 8 in the central Philippines. Tens of thousands are feared dead and more than half a million are now homeless.

Entire coastal villages were swept away by giant waves reminiscent of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The wide swath of structural destruction across the archipelago has directly affected some 4 million Filipinos.

The city of Tacloban on the island of Leyte was hit particularly hard, where the death toll is expected to rise to thousands. Clean water and food supplies are running low and reports began to surface Monday of cases of dysentery.

A Christian Aid ministry partner expressed great concern for residents of Tacloban. “We have not yet heard from our believers there. Communication has been cut off,” he said.

Bohol Island, which suffered significant damage from an earthquake three weeks ago, was further ravaged by the typhoon. Missionaries and pastors serving in the area lost everything in the quake, and the typhoon has only added to their distress.

“Due to the strong earthquake, houses, church buildings, roads, and bridges were badly damaged. As a result, most of these believers were temporarily living in tents. Food, medicine, water, communication, and transportation are very hard for them to find,” said a ministry leader who works on the island.

He asked for urgent help for the 25 pastors who were directly affected by both the earthquake and typhoon. In addition, he reported there are “300 to 500 families from these pastors' congregations who are very much in need.”

“No complaints are heard from them for they know Jesus knows what they are going through. Still, they need our prayers for comfort,” he said.

Numerous churches and Bible schools assisted by Christian Aid have also been decimated by the typhoon.

Recovery efforts will take months, even years, and structural damage has been immense across the central Philippines. However, survival is the most pressing concern now, and water, food, and shelter are critically needed.

“The devastation on the islands is heartbreaking,” said another ministry partner. “We covet your prayers.”