There are so many people that need help in our country right now, I don’t know where to start. I’ve been gathering clothes to donate, then stopping to post updates. If it’s possible and safe, I wish I could leave the house and physically do something to help, but before I do that, I just want to get the word out there. In case you haven’t heard of what is happening in the Philippines, do check these out:
News, photos, and videos here: http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/philippines-flooding-60-dead-tropical-storm-kestana-hits
More here from ABS CBN News: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/26/09/arroyo-visits-hard-hit-marikina
CNN report: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/26/philippines.floods/index.html
BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8277018.stm
It broke the record for the largest amount of rainfall ever to hit Metro Manila. Reports say we experienced one month’s worth of rain in just 6 hours. That was yesterday.
Today, it’s still raining, and while thousands have already been rescued (last count was 5,146), thousands are still waiting to be rescued, stranded on their rooftops or in the second or third floors of their homes or buildings. Even if they are safe, they lack food and have been freezing, due to being engulfed by winds and rain since yesterday morning. Some of the areas are still unreachable because the floods have not entirely subsided, and the sad part about it is that these areas are spread out across Metro Manila, not just concentrated in one area. And to make things worse, the sun is about to set in around an hour, making it more difficult for rescue operations to navigate the affected locations.
Evacuation centers and hospitals are filled, and they badly need bottled water, food, and supplies, among others. As of last night, some places (even hospitals) did not have electricity and their ground floors were already flooded. Some streets and highways are still clogged up, making it difficult for rescue operations to go through. The mobile phone lines are erratic, and by now, the phone batteries of those stranded have run out, making it impossible to communicate with them at the moment.
I still haven’t heard from my friend, Abby. Her parents live in Cainta, and I know she’s been staying at their place the last couple of days. Cainta is one of the areas most badly hit by Typhoon Ondoy/Kestana. Another friend, Bridel, is unreachable too. Her family home is in one of the villages hit in Pasig. Across Metro Manila, in Del Monte, Quezon City, my uncle (my mom’s brother) and his family were stranded on the roof of their home. Last we heard from them was yesterday. As the hours go by, I get more reports of missing friends. Two of my former co-workers at MTV are in trouble: one is stranded with her family in Cainta, and another one still can’t be reached. Another friend, Acel, is stranded with her husband and their 1 y.o. baby who now has a fever. (Update as of 10 pm: Bridel and her family are stranded in 2nd floor of their home and badly need edible/cooked food. I heard that Abby and her family are at her neighbors’ house, but they are still unreachable. My uncle and his family were able to get to dry land via a makeshift raft. Right now, I’m grateful that they’re all safe and alive.)
I just got a text message that the people (houseparents + kids) at the Jesus Loves the Little Children Foundation in Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City are safe but stranded in the second floor of the school building next door to their home that was just recently finished. Praise God for that! Unfortunately, they’re going to need help soon; I don’t know how long they can last without food. There are a lot of kids there, and I’m sure a lot of others from the community have taken refuge in the building. These people are very special to me, and my heart is breaking at this news. From Pastor Rachel Sanchez of Jesus Loves the Little Children (she and Bishop Chito live near the center):
“Flood and high waters everywhere specially in Pinagbuhatan. We cant go to the home. We’re trapped inside our houses. Children and staff at the orphanage are safe. They are in the 2nd floor of building. Literally, building is their noah’s ark. Praise God the construction is so timely. Community houses are gone. Bishop walked in waist deep water to get to church. No power and houseparents could not go anywhere to buy food, everything is submerged. Praise God we are safe! Many died. Many are missing too. Need food and toiletries for kids. Not passable for vehicles. We need help asap.”
Weather reports say that the rain will continue pouring all day. Let’s pray that the situation doesn’t get worse. Lives still need to be saved, people need to be clothed and fed, and after all this, thousands of lives need to be rebuilt. People lost their homes, cars, and everything they owned. Some have lost family members as well. According to this report from the Red Cross, 96,138 people have been affected.
If you live in Metro Manila and you’d like to help, there are many ways to do so. Right now, all evacuation centers and hospitals need bottled water, food, clothes, blankets, and milk for children. I can imagine they also need medicines, medical supplies, rubber boats and life vests, and even things like cellphone chargers and prepaid load to help them communicate. Facebook and Twitter are flooded with options of venues to send donations; you’re sure to find one in an area near you. Here’s another resource to check out that lists down a list of places where you can drop off relief goods: http://spreadsheets.google.com/lv?key=tBMVeBvbdAtYRaRB6ErFWnA&toomany=true. I am also updating a list of helpful links to websites with comprehensive information at the end of this post. For most of these places, volunteers are also needed in these areas to help pack and distribute food and emergency supplies.
If you’re in the Philippines and you’d like to donate quickly and easily, you can donate to the Philippine Red Cross Flood Rescue Operations by sending a text message: type RED<space>AMOUNT and send to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart). To those who live in Canada and the US who wish to help in the rescue and relief operations, I’m not sure, but I think you may donate through the American Red Cross. Call 1-800-435-7669 (just got this info from Facebook and Twitter). You can also donate via the Canadian Red Cross here: https://www.paypaq.com/redcross/new/index.php. For those who would like to remit their $ for donation, please remit to ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. Account # 5630020111 or coordinate with ABS-CBN Foundation if you’re in the U.S. at 1-800-5272820. More info on how to donate to the Philippine Red Cross here: http://www.redcross.org.ph/Site/PNRC/wtd.aspx. You can also donate through our church here: http://victory.org.ph/archive/typhoon-ondoy-relief.html. We have ongoing relief efforts coming out of all our churches all over Metro Manila.
Understandably, we are all overwhelmed, and it’s difficult to decide where to start. I hope, after reading this, you’ll have an idea of what you can do to help. Even if it’s just spreading the word to people who would be able to offer goods or assistance, please do it, because every little thing we can do right now will count.
Most of all, do keep our country in your prayers. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says that “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” If you’re reading this now, let’s thank and praise God for keeping us safe, but let’s also do whatever we can to help rescue, heal, and rebuild our nation. Let’s spread the blessings and love to those who need them the most right now.
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More useful links here (I’ll be updating this list):
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UPDATE as of September 28. 12:48 AM:
From Rachel Sanchez of the Jesus Loves the Little Children Foundation:
“Hi liz. The children are ok. They are in the second floor of the new building. The water is still waist deep. We bring food to them daily. The roads are not passable, only rafts and boats.”
“Donations of canned goods, noodles, rice, milk, medicines, and toiletries for the orphanage and community are being accepted at the River of God church located at lower level east lane, Robinsons Galleria mall, Ortigas, next to LTO and Ryan Cayabyab’s music school. Tel #4701439.”
“Monetary support for Jesus Loves the Little Children can be sent to these accounts:
Direct Deposit – Peso Account
Account Name: Jesus Loves the Little Children Foundation, Inc.
Account No.: 6791001283
Bank: BPI Family Bank – Ortigas Branch, Emerald Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600 Philippines
Direct Deposit – US Dollar Account
Account Name: Jesus Loves the Little Children Foundation, Inc.
Account No.: 398929500013
Bank: Philippine National Bank, JMT Bldg., ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600 Philippines”
(You can verify that these are the real account numbers here: http://jllcf.com/sponsorship.htm)
According to her, they estimate that it could take 1 month for the water to recede :(
We love these kids. I’m so thankful that they’re safe.