Church Responding to Typhoon Damage in Philippines
UPDATE 10/14/2011: From Kaye Bay and Teresa Pangilinan, Philippines
Typhoons Nesat and Nalgae besieged metro Manila and four other regions, affecting 195,000 people and damaging a total of 71,518 homes. Meetinghouses were used as evacuation centers to shelter member and nonmember victims.
The Church Area Welfare Department initially responded with 600 sacks of rice, which were delivered in Pampanga. The Social Action Center of Pampanga (SACOP) of the Archdiocese of San Fernando Pampanga, a partner non-governmental organization, handled the distribution of the donated rice.
Catholic and LDS volunteers worked hand in hand to repack and distribute the rice donation to the 352 affected barangays in Pampanga.
“The Catholic and LDS Church crossed roads for the welfare of the people,” said Jose M. Briones, Angeles Philippines Stake president.
Relief operations are scheduled in the coming weeks in Bulacan, Pangasinan, Cordillera, and Central Luzon.
In less than one week, two typhoons struck the northern Philippine island of Luzon, killing at least 60 people, displacing more than half a million, and causing widespread damage to several provinces north of Manila.
All missionaries are safe and accounted for, and most members’ safety has been verified. There are still a few areas difficult to access, but local leaders will continue working until all members have been located.
Typhoon Nesat hit the Philippines as a category 2 storm on September 25, killing at least 56 people. More than 30 people are still missing.
Typhoon Nalgae (a strong category 2 storm) followed a similar path just a few days later, dropping large amounts of precipitation on the already rain-soaked region.
Several communities in the affected area are without water and power. Damage to infrastructure and agriculture is expected to exceed $200 million (US).
Many members’ homes have been severely damaged or destroyed, while a number of Church buildings have sustained minor damage from winds and floods. Several Church buildings that withstood the storms are being used as shelters for those in need.
Local Church leaders are assessing needs and assisting members with basic relief supplies. The Church is working with the government and other partners to provide assistance.