Last Friday (Dec 16) a major tropical storm, Typhoon Sendong (also called Washi), hit the Philippines. Reports so far tell us that close to 1000 bodies have been recovered with many people still missing, many of them children.
The slideshow of photos above tell a small part of the story. As is always the case, photos can only capture a small part of the total picture, but they do help us see some of what is happening. I purposely did not include photos I have received of the dead bodies laying out or of tearful fathers clutching their dead children. One of our pastors said the people will not eat fish from the sea now because there are dead bodies in the water. If you wish to see those photos, there are plenty on the Internet. Our focus now is to help the survivors recover as well as to comfort those who are hurting.
In two of the hardest hit places, Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro, we have more than 200 sponsored children. We’ve talked by phone with two of our pastors and have had e-mail communication with others. All the sponsored children survived, but many of them lost everything in the floods and high winds that came in the middle of the night while most were sleeping. The pastor in Iligan City said the ones living on the riverside all had to flee for their lives.
Many of you sent swift and generous donations to help. Thank you. We’ve already sent money to pastors for food and water for the victims, which is still the immediate need. Our pastor in Iligan City said they also need blankets and clothing. The children will also need new school supplies and uniforms and shoes, even new underwear! One pastor in Cagayan de Oro used the money we sent to get Christmas for the sponsored children to give them emergency help for immediate needs. We will send more for those needs and also replace what was intended for Christmas. Of all times, the kids will need a special Christmas, it is now.
We have sent, and are sending more, help for food and water. Other needs will come later. Would you like to help us meet this need? If you can help, send your money to Ministry to Children. For a time, all the money coming to this account is being designated for disaster relief. We will make sure what you send gets to our pastors for the children and their families.
Thank you for your prayers for those affected by this tragedy.