Iligan City, Philippines. December 17, 2011 is a day that will long be remembered in this city, as well as all over the nation of the Philippines. They talk about “the time when Sendong came to visit.” On that day, in the middle of the night the rivers that today flow strongly but peacefully through the city became deadly torrents, full of giant logs from the mountains. The logs began to batter the homes of sleeping residents. I saw multi-story concrete buildings with huge holes in the sides where big logs crashed through. Smaller buildings did not have a chance against the onslaught. Entire communities were wiped out.
Yesterday I visited one of nine relocation centers in Iligan City. Some of the children sponsored by FCM live there now. They lost their homes and all their possessions during the tragic Sendong typhoon and floods last December. They were happy to have survived. Many in the city did not survive.
At this particular camp there are 99 tents and several hundred residents. On the big blue tents are stamped “Korea” or Canada,” the donors. In the center is a common area for cooking and doing laundry, which is done by hand – no machines. To the edge of the area are showers and portable restrooms. There is a playground and a gym. Most will tell you their living conditions here are not so bad, but one can still see the traumatized look in the faces, especially of the children who are still fearful any time hard rains come. Emotional recovery will take a long time.
Nearby the city of big blue tents is a huge building project, funded by a large Philippine owned corporation. The project includes 1711 townhomes being built for those who lost their homes in the floods. More are being built in other locations. International aid organizations are still at work assisting displaced individuals and families. Our concentration has been primarily for our sponsored children and their families. We currently have 123 sponsored children in the area, nearly all of whom lost everything they owned.
Some of the relocation centers have displaced residents to new areas, often far from where they lived before. If the families move permanently to these new locations, they will be far from the source of their income (or “livelihood” as they call it). Children will move to different schools. They will be far from their churches. The relocation will require many adjustments in the displaced families.
The money given to sponsor the children is used for education and nutrition. Disasters such as this are not included in the sponsorship. If you wish to help meet needs of our sponsored children and their families who were affected by Typhoon Sendong, you can send on online donation through our website http://fullnessonline.org.