Starting over in the Philiippines

Philippines (MNN/AMG) — More powerful than Hurricane
Katrina that hit the United States in 2005, Typhoon Haiyan is one of the
costliest and deadliest storms to hit the Philippines in recent years.

After it was all said and done, there were over three million displaced people, more a million
damaged or destroyed homes, and more than 5,000 dead.

Rural areas were cut off from
assistance, and now there’s the second wave disaster coming in: waterborne
diseases  and recovery injuries
(injuries gotten from debris clean-up). The scale of destruction is mind-boggling. 

AMG International Southeast Asia Coordinator Bill Passons says in some cases, it feels like starting all
over again. “It’s kind of staggering when you see those kind of numbers. I mean
96% in Iloilo; in one of the areas we’re working in Leyte, 98% of the houses were
destroyed. In another area there and
also in Leyte, we had 95% of the houses destroyed.”  

The United Nations says life-saving
assistance is still urgently required, particularly food, water, and shelter. AMG
is doing what they can in an area that’s already been hit by summer floods. “Our staff in
Manila has already sent advance teams out to minister aid and to see what
second and third stage of relief is
going to be needed. There’s much planning going into that now.”

“Within our ministry alone,
we have hundreds of families with children that are sponsored by AMG that were
already in desperate situations. Most of them lost everything,” adds Passons.

He shares the list of damages from
Eastern & Western Visayas area :

   Nagpana Child Care Center:
       53 sponsored children homes destroyed
       Center roof totally blown
       Church and pastoral house partially destroyed
       96 % of community houses destroyed
       3 staff of CDP house destroyed
   Ajuy Church of Ptr. Martines
       Pastoral house totally destroyed
       36 members house destroyed
    Pag Amoma Child Care center
       36 sponsored child house destroyed
       Church partially damaged
       3 staff house destroyed
       Ptr. Parilla’s house in Tacloban was underwater
during the typhoon surge
       98% of community houses destroyed
   *Tabango Church
       Church totally destroyed
       47 members house destroyed
       95% community house destroyed
       Samar Churches
       5 churches roofs destroyed
       houses of children partially damaged
       5 pastoral houses destroyed

Additionally, there’s the emotional
toll. There was extensive damage to the
schools, so children have not yet been able to resume daily activities. Lack of a day-to-day routine delays their
capacity to process grief and loss, and according to the United Nations, many children are closed off and withdrawn.

Property damages are not the only
concern, explains Passons. “Most of these
people were farmers or had simple jobs like
that. As these winds came and destroyed all of their crops for the whole season
there, it’s going to be two cycles of the growing season for sure before they
can even think about being self-sustained again.”

Coconuts need to be replanted since
most of them are either cut or uprooted. Some would still live but would need
about 5 years to recover. What’s more,
the help that IS coming isn’t regular, Passons says. “The government assistance–even
as it arrives, you get a package of food that may last three days for your
family. Then…you’re having to go back and
hope the government is still there. We’re trying to set up feeding centers that
will be there for a longer period of time.”

AMG initially provided about 3,000
relief packets to partner ministries and their communities. However, in
Leyte, the AMG Philippines team is having trouble purchasing the supplies
needed for distribution. They are reporting that the supplies available
are three times the cost of the same goods before the storm.

Please continue to pray for them, especially
the need to provide relief assistance. Passons says they do have a ready-made
distribution network. “Because of the network that we have with our community-based childcare centers and our community-based churches, we see that as a
blessing to be able to be used by God to meet these basic needs.” AMG wants to “bring them
to a place to also show ‘you also thirst spiritually, so we can show you satisfaction
that you can get in Jesus Christ.'”

Pray for wisdom and provision from the Lord. Every
aspect of AMG’s ministry was affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Their partners shine like beacons in this
time, says Passons. “Overall, the scope
is kind of staggering, but we are thankful for the hope that we have in Christ
that cannot be blown away.”

It’s a long road to recovery. If you
can pray, give, or go, click here.


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