Super Typhoon Haiyan and the Relief Effort

Update 11/15/13:

Mission Network News reports:  

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 that there are “300-500 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,” said the ministry leader.

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

An update on the U.S. Marines' effort to help those who desperately need it: 


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Imagine living in an area where 70% of the buildings have been either damaged or destroyed. Transportation networks and things we take for granted like roads are gone or filled with debris. Relief aid is coming in very slowly. And you haven’t eaten for five, six days. There is a desperate need for clean water and medicine for the injured. It’s not safe to live here but it is home and where do you go? Disease is a growing problem, prisoners are running free and crime has spiked.

NBC News slideshow

Super Typhoon Haiyan has destroyed at least 80,000 homes. Approximately 582,000 have been left homeless.

Great Van Susteren of Fox News reports, "Haiyan was classified as a Category 5 typhoon, and is one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land. For a time, storm clouds covered the entire Philippines, stretching 1,120 miles—the distance between Florida and Canada—and tropical storm-force winds covered an area the size of Germany."

Six days later over two million people need food, not to mention shelter, medical care and a host of other basics, according to reports from CNN.

SEND International’s Trent Rollings stated, "Many of the NGOs (non-government organizations) in the area are calling out for body bags, or for people to donate for the purchase of body bags. There are a lot of bodies still in the streets."

He adds, "A lot of islands have yet to see any relief goods.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) state that the UN and U.S. are sending $25 million and $20 million, respectively in aid. News reports state that USS George Washington aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels have cut short leave to join U.S. Marines already there to provide aid. Israel and Australia have sent field hospitals and staff. Taiwan has sent troops to help and Britain is sending a naval carrier. Doctors Without Borders has nine cargo shipments either in country or on the way.

While relief aid has been pouring in, it is stuck in Manila, Cebu and in Tacloban because of the hurdles to get it to the remote areas where it is so desperately needed.

Even when aid does get to the people, desperation causes them to do desperate things. Tragically, a crowd stormed a rice warehouse in Tacloban, trampling eight of its own. One wall of the warehouse collapsed and those eight are the newest casualties of this awful storm. CNN reported that police and security stood by as 100,000 sacks of rice were stolen.

Into this void steps organizations like SEND International. SEND networks with over 30,000 churches in the Philippines. Yet, SEND has been having extreme difficulty contacting the churches in the aftermath of the storm.

Pray as SEND continues to seek to contact the Christians and churches on the ground with whom they have developed long-term relationships. As they collect funds to help facilitate relief, consider contributing.  All of the money donated will go directly to the relief effort in the Philippines.

Rollings says it's not just about helping people with physical aid. "We see tragedies like this as a real opportunity to minister to people, not only to the physical needs, but also the spiritual needs. So when we talk about meeting physical needs, that's never the end goal. The end goal is to share the Gospel."

Operation Mobilization is also at work. 850 families in Bohol and in a portion of Cebu have seen aid from this organization. It is an area that Operation Mobilization knows well since many of its staff reside there. They have set up and Emergency Operation Center in Cebu City. Consider supporting this ministry as it seeks to help those who desperately need it in the Philippines.

A vulnerable slice of the population are the slum dwellers of Cebu. According to a Filipino study, over 5 million live in urban slums, many of which are in low-lying, coastal areas where one can expect the worst results from the Typhoon Haiyan.

Ellis works closely with the mission’s Cebu's scholarship program, which shares the Gospel and provides hope for the future to about 114 children from the slums.

Operation Mobilization’s International Director, Lawrence Tong reminds us that "The One we serve is much bigger than any typhoon or earthquake, and we need to cry out to Him on behalf of the thousands who have lost homes and loved ones."

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