Philippines update: Damaged churches put others first
Friday, November 22, 2013
Philippines, Asia-Pacific Region
The Church of the Nazarene continues to help serve the 13 million people in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
The November 8 category 5 storm caused more than 5,200 casualties, displaced 4.3 million people, and injured more than 23,000 residents, including a Nazarene pastor and his family.
Despite the devastation, Church of the Nazarene districts from across the Philippines are helping their neighbors by providing supplies and financial assistance.
The Central Visayas District is offering logistical support from the Island of Cebu, preparing relief goods, staging shipments, and assisting with coordination and transportation of arriving volunteers and teams.
In Tacloban City, the local Church of the Nazarene sustained damage from the typhoon, but is listed as an official government evacuation site. In addition to housing several families, the church distributes potable water from a 5,000 liter (1,300 gallon) container that is refilled daily by the Philippine Red Cross. Through a partnership with Save the Children, the church also provides hygiene kits.
Nazarene Disaster Response volunteers in the area were asked by the government to lead psychosocial counseling training programs.
Ormoc Church of the Nazarene, which sustained some roof damage, adopted two local barangays (towns) in addition to offering relief supplies to area residents.
"Last Sunday I counted around 200 children receiving balloons, crackers, and some much needed personal attention and play time at our Child Safe Zone," said Todd Aebisher, Asia-Pacific regional communications coordinator.
Members of Balangiga Church of the Nazarene, unfazed by their church's destruction, quickly set to work cleaning up debris and distributing relief supplies. A Nazarene medical team is also stationed there to meet the community's physical needs.
While churches in the Iliolo Province were also damaged, members are engaged in disaster response. Through a partnership with International Care Ministries, they received 50 water containers and 50 cases of relief food supplies that they will transport to an isolated barangay that has yet to receive assistance.
When Nazarene Disaster Response assessment teams arrived in Estancia, they found church youth providing crowd control and other members staffing a medical distribution center. On Wednesday, the church sent an assessment team to the Gigante Islands, where it has been reported that the needs are great and no relief has yet arrived. Three Nazarene churches are located on these islands.
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is in the process of establishing five base camps in the hard-hit areas of Tacloban and Ormoc (Leyte Province), Balangiga and Balangkayan (Eastern Samar Province), and in the Iloilo Province. The camps will house medical teams and serve as distribution centers for needed supplies.
Eight medical team members are currently on the ground in three locations through NCM. The organization's first priority is to address life-threatening needs and to establish centers for distribution of food and water. Long-term recovery efforts, such as debris removal, rebuilding, and counseling, will begin soon.
Supplies from around the world are arriving in the Philippines. The Church of the Nazarene's Mesoamerica Region will receive a special offering on December 1 to support Philippines relief efforts. NCM and Heart to Heart International are shipping 125 pallets of medical supplies, water filtration systems, water purification tablets, tarps, food, and Crisis Care Kits. NCM Canada is sending three shipments containing 14 pallets of food, 40 pallets of dried foods, disaster aid kits and tents, soap hygiene packs, water filters, and tarps. Donations made to NCM in Canada will be matched by the Canadian government.http://www.ncnnews.com/nphweb/html/ncn/article.jsp?id=10013185