Typhoon Haiyan Relief

In the aftermath of the devastating typhoon Haiyan, a storm that has left more than 1,700 dead and millions homeless, YWAM teams from many nations are making their way to the Philippines to provide relief to the victims.

To donate, please click here and pick “Typhoon Haiyan Relief” from the dropdown list.

As he was leaving The Netherlands for the Philippines, Dick Brouwer, a member of the RescueNet team, said, “We don’t really know what to expect. The cyclone victims are experiencing the worst time of their lives. We trust God for His leading and we make ourselves available to help many.”

Another member of RescueNet, Michelle Thompson, left from South Africa. “A mad dash to get last supplies,” she wrote, “then on that plane.”

The members of RescueNet have been trained in disaster response. They have served in the Haiti earthquake, Indonesia tsunami, Pakistan earthquake and many other places of crisis.

They will add their services to the work of YWAM outreach teams and YWAM workers from the Philippines. Many YWAM locations in the Philippines are preparing to provide practical assistance to the typhoon survivors. Some of these Filipino YWAM staff have already been involved in caring for the victims of the October 15 earthquake in Bohol, one of the areas now damaged by the typhoon.

YWAM has several ministry centers in the area affected by typhoon Haiyan. Those centers are located in Calapan City, Calabayog City, Molo, Tagbilaran City, Dumaguete, Cebu, Naga City, Daraga, and Surigao.

One of those Filipino YWAMers, Barbie Calo, asked for prayer. Specifically, she asked believers to pray for:

–The places badly hit by the typhoon (Leyte, Samar, Albay, Sorsogon, Cebu, Bohol, Aklan, North Palawan, Iloilo, Capiz, and Roxas)

–Efficient distribution of relief (food, water, medicine, housing, clothing)

–For safe travel, health and finances for the YWAM relief workers

–Restoration of power, water and communication

–Psychological/emotional recovery from trauma

–Families to be reunited, survivors to be identified

–Access to many other areas that are still unreachable

–People will stop looting and stealing from one another

–For wisdom and protection for relief workers


Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

Typhoon Relief Effort Expands

YWAM teams from the Philippines and from many other nations have now arrived in the typhoon Haiyan disaster zone. They are busy providing medical care, transportation of relief supplies, body recovery, and many other services. They face urgent needs for supplies and for more workers.

To donate, please click here and pick “Typhoon Haiyan Relief” from the dropdown list.

In the flattened town of Tanuan, a RescueNet team has helped run a temporary hospital that has been set up in the damaged town hall. They have treated deep wounds caused by flying debris. Twelve babies have been born in the town hall, two by C-section. The clinic needs medicine and more medical workers.

In the same town, the RescueNet team also helped recover bodies from the river. An outreach team from YWAM Manila has helped with the same grim task in another hard-hit city, Tacloban, where they helped to recover more than 300 bodies.

Michelle Thompson of RescueNet assists with relief distribution

Michelle Thompson of RescueNet assists with relief distribution

YWAM Mindanao has provided two vehicles to Eastern Leyte. These vehicles are crucially needed for distribution of relief supplies. The food and water sits at the airport waiting to get out to the people who need it.

In Tacloban, seven YWAM workers distributed an entire dump-truck load of relief supplies. They handed out thousands of packages. Said team leader Mitch Metzger, “The people asked for water, water, water. The wells are dirty and there is no city water yet.”

In Cebu, YWAM workers packed 1,000 sacks of relief goods, which contained rice, hygiene kits and water jugs.

In addition, YWAM relief teams are currently researching small islands that may have been damaged but overlooked until now.

Currently, YWAM relief teams have arrived from South Korea, the Netherlands, South Africa, the USA, Singapore, and other countries. They are coordinating with many other relief agencies in the area.

Many of these YWAM teams have been hard at work even before typhoon Haiyan struck. A Discipleship Training School outreach team from Mexico heard about the October 15 earthquake in Bohol, Philippines, came to help, and now has joined in with the relief effort from typhoon Haiyan. A YWAM Philippines relief team from Cebu has similarly worked to care for victims of the Bohol earthquake and now they continue their work as they assist victims of the typhoon. They have been working on disaster relief for four weeks.

YWAM Philippines currently has a large room to house more relief workers in Tacloban. They ask teams to please bring all their own food and to come with water purifiers. They are looking for a long-term relief and development center in the area. They are gearing up for a rebuilding effort that will take years.

YWAM needs more outreach teams to help with the distribution of food and water. To contact YWAM Cebu directly, click here.

Said a YWAM worker in Cebu, “Praise God for His grace.
 The Lord is building a church without walls. Disaster brought the people of God together. Every tongue, every tribe, every nation is bringing glory to God as 
we unite ourselves to serve people who need a lot of comfort in this time of calamity.”

Donations to YWAM’s relief efforts go directly to the teams on the ground. Since YWAM teams do not get paid salaries and have very low overhead, almost all the funds go to the relief efforts in the Philippines. Please give generously as God leads.

For frequent updates on YWAM’s typhoon relief efforts, visit the YWAM Philippines Facebook page, or the YWAM global Facebook page.


Home page photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

Typhoon Rebuilding Begins

YWAM teams in the Philippines disaster zone continue to distribute relief supplies and retrieve bodies, and some workers have begun to help victims rebuild. Many teams have asked for funds to provide hammers, saws, nails and corrugated roofing.

To donate, please click here and pick “Typhoon Haiyan Relief” from the dropdown list. 

Israel Garcia helps with reconstruction on Bantayan Island

Israel Garcia helps with reconstruction on Bantayan Island

YWAM’s effort to care for the victims of typhoon Haiyan now reaches many parts of the disaster area. YWAM currently has 208 people in 19 teams working on relief and reconstruction.

Teams from the Philippines have distributed clothing and relief packages. One such team has traveled to Dulag, a hard-hit and overlooked town, with a 40-foot container of supplies and building materials. One Filipino worker with a few friends went to Bantayan Island with just a hammer and a few simple tools. Thanks to the generosity of friends, this tiny team is now helping to rebuild 20 homes.

Two groups from YWAM Korea currently are working on reconstruction. They are restoring the roof on a school in Estancia, and they also have helped individual families rebuild. In Tacloban, YWAMers with a generator assist homeless people by charging cell phones in a refugee center. They have also retrieved many bodies, 15 in one day.

In Tanauan, the RescueNet team of 19 people has turned the medical clinic over to a German organization. The RescueNet workers treated hundreds of patients in a makeshift clinic in the town hall. They also retrieved bodies, repaired the roof and provided comfort to children.

As the team left, the Tanauan mayor said, “I’d like you to know the people of Tanauan are very grateful for what you have done. You came in a time of our greatest need. You cared for our patients, helped us collect the bodies, even repaired the town hall’s roofing. You are all amazing people.”

One of those RescueNet workers, Dick Brower, a YWAM leader from The Netherlands, told about his experience.

“Our team has provided medical care to literally hundreds of people. Some had very large and deep cuts from flying debris such as metal roofing sheets. In the room next door, in our town hall, a Japanese team was treating patients. Another office was turned into a delivery room where midwives helped moms give birth to their babies. Desks were turned into operating tables and ‘beds’ to deliver on. The cooperation between the various teams in the town hall went very well. On the ground floor, local medics focused on primary health care, vaccinations and screening of patients. The vice-mayor, also a doctor, took on a coordination role for all necessary medical aid. The moment most of our team left Tanauan we were able to pass on our clinic to a team of German doctors.

“After a few days, we took the initiative to engage in search and recovery activity as well. This was a felt need in the city. Local people didn’t really know what to do with the dead. In some neighborhoods the water had just subsided and the smell of the bodies indicated where they were located. At least two armed soldiers guarded us as we went out into the city to recover bodies that locals would guide us to. While carefully wearing our personal protection equipment we put the bodies in the body bags. Some bodies we needed to dig out from under the rubble. Others were floating in the water. Often military personnel helped us carry the full body bags to the road from where they were being picked up to be buried in mass graves. We recovered 21 bodies, including five children. Our attitude and actions seemed catalytic and mobilized the local communities. Often they too engaged and helped after we got started. They were very thankful for what we did.

RescueNet worker repairs town hall roof

RescueNet worker repairs town hall roof

“All practical talents of our team could be fully utilized. Almost daily the guys spent some time on the town hall’s roof, which had completely blown off. With tarps, ropes and whatever we could find we tried to cover parts of the town hall in order to keep some water out. Daily we had some big rain showers. Still too much water kept coming in and many ceilings had already come down because of that. We did all we could to keep the place as dry and as safe as possible.

“In one of my roles, as communications officer, I dealt with the media and provided daily information for our blog. Almost daily we had media come through our town.

“Children are hit hard with such disasters. Survivors are traumatized because of loss of a parent, siblings or grandparents. Some of our RescueNet team members came prepared to minister especially to kids, by creating playing moments and intentionally seeking contact with them. This touched many young lives.

“Whenever we had the opportunity we tried to talk with the patients who visited our clinic. We heard their personal stories and saw many tears. With many we could pray. I remember talking to a lady whose deep head wound we had just tended, how she shared that she lost eight family members, including her husband, one child, two children-in-law and three grand children. How sad.

“One of the young midwives who worked in the town hall lost her four-year-old daughter. Every day she asked us if we had perhaps found her.

“It was obvious to us that, in spite of the ordeal that had come over these people, they were very kind and gentle. We were able to connect well with them since many speak English. That was great and helped us experience precious moments with them.

“This disaster deployment in fact was my first one. And yes, we train regularly and sometimes in an outreach context. But this was what we really train and prepare for. How privileged I found myself to be able to serve these people in this overwhelming crisis, together with God and our team. People were so vulnerable and yet so open and grateful for our help.

“All RescueNet members are volunteers. Some have ‘normal’ jobs while others of us work with YWAM fulltime. We are personally responsible for covering expenses for our training, airfares, uniforms, personal protection equipment, food, etc.

“On the day most of us left Tanauan, the town of 50,000 inhabitants had confirmed 1,246 dead and still 756 people missing. Thousands injured, material damage beyond imagination, 2,000 families who are being relocated since their residence area along the coast has been condemned. Still many needs for relief as well as more long term rehabilitation. Electricity, water, all infrastructure is broken or destroyed.

“We, the team, have experienced so much and have been able to share so much, motivated by God’s compassion. We pray that God will multiply our labor and have mercy on the survivors of this disaster. He is good, merciful and faithful in His love!”