Latest update on the Philippines

Day 4! The number of people rescued has increased, but so has the number of fatalities.

In case you missed it, the Philippines has been in a state of calamity this past week due to Tropical Storm Ketsana (Philippine name: ‘Ondoy’). I blogged about it here.

Photos from TIME Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1926456,00.html

Photos from LIFE: http://www.life.com/image/91234037/in-gallery/34262/a-killer-flood-hits-the-philippines

According to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), these are the latest statistics (taken from this article):

Reported dead: 240

Missing: 37

Affected Filipinos: 319,881 families 1,872,036 persons

Damaged houses: 3,272

Totally damaged: 2,223    Partially damaged: 1,049

Cost of damages: P2,339,620,884

Infrastructure: P1,517,096  Agriculture: P882,524,884

The outpouring of support has been amazing. Relief and rescue efforts are happening all over the metro, but it’s still not enough. We still need more relief goods (there are so many people out there who need water and food, the goods disappear in minutes!) and better road access to reach those who are still inaccessible. On the one hand, we don’t want it to rain anymore so the flooded areas won’t get worse, but at the same time, some areas need the rain to wash away the massive amounts of mud that are drying up and making rescue operations more difficult.

Here’s a video of one of our Victory pastors (Coach Robert Gonzalez!) together with some of our church staffers, campus ministers and students from University of Makati (UMAK), taking relief goods to evacuated families in Taguig City:

I’m so proud of these guys, especially the UMAK students! This is just one of the dozens of areas these guys have gone to in the last couple of days.

If you’d like to help, do check out my last blog post for ways to support the relief and rescue efforts. Since I wrote that post, there has been lots of good news pouring in. Abby, Bridel, and their respective families are all safe (thank God!). And as for the kids from the Jesus Loves the Little Children Foundation (JLLCF), here’s the update I posted on Facebook:

I dropped by the River of God center at Galleria earlier to give a donation for JLLCF, and the pastors were telling me that the area is still inaccessible by vehicles. Only boats/rafts/amphibians can go near the center. The older boys (the ‘kuyas’–Benjie, Aldren, Loget, Ariel, Jovie, Jobeth, etc.) were able to build a makeshift raft that allows them to go to the market to buy stuff when they’re low on supplies and food. However, it’s still not completely safe because there’s still a current.

According to the pastors, the best items to donate would be non-perishable food items, because they still have trouble bringing them in. If the goods are to last them throughout the month (because the water still isn’t going down), they’ll need to be able to ration them.

Given that fact, they said it’s easier to give them RICE, CANNED GOODS or instant noodles. Not to worry, they have can openers on hand at the center :) Sana raw wag na muna yung sardines, because the first batch of food they got was sardines, so that’s all they’ve been having so far and for the next couple of days. Hahaha.

BOTTLED WATER is the most important need right now. Doesn’t matter which size, but the bigger ones (i think that’s 1.5ml or 1L?) are better for easier transport.

They also need CLOTHES for the little boys (ages 4 and up). They’ve been getting donations of clothes for the older kids and the houseparents, so don’t worry about them.

They decided that it’s best for everyone to stay in the center for now instead of evacuating them. At least at the center, they’re all safe and comfortable. They are so blessed because of that new school bldg in their center that was donated by HSBC. All the essentials are in the 2nd floor: kitchen, beds, bathrooms, etc. Plus they have a rooftop where the little kids can play. They also have one working landline that was just installed last week! Ain’t that a blessing? So we can check on them constantly. I just got to talk to Jovie earlier, and he said they’re all doing good. They get to hang out on the rooftop all the time and the little kids have just been playing.

The pastors said that the kids keep saying they’re doing good kasi “sanay na sa hirap” (in English: “they’re used to hardship”). They said that they’re so proud of the older boys (the ‘kuyas’) because they’ve really been doing everything they can to take care of the younger boys and houseparents and make sure they’re fed, even periodically going through the waist-deep water to get some food.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is also going to be sending volunteers to check how they’re all doing, health-wise. Also, I was super thrilled to enter Victory Fort the yesterday and I saw that they had already set aside and sent a lot of donated goods to River of God and the Jesus Loves the Little Children Foundation. Yay!

Let’s keep praying that the donations keep pouring in, and that everyone there is kept safe and healthy. Let’s also pray for better transportation for them–sturdier boats are needed; boats that can be covered so that the relief goods can be protected and not stolen…but at the same time let’s also pray that the people in the surrounding areas are also safe and provided for. I know that the River of God church will also use the excess goods to provide for the other people in the surrounding areas.

Again, let’s praise God that they’re safe and let’s thank Him for everything He has blessed them with! They should rename the place to “Jesus REALLY LOVES These Children Foundation”. Haha :) Thanks again to everyone for keeping them in your thoughts and prayers! :)

Hooray for these heroes! –>

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