In light of the recent tragic disaster in the Philippines, many are searching for ways to be of assistance to those in need after the effects of Typhoon Haiyan. As many of you may know, our organization has been formally doing development work in the Philippines since 2006.
The situation at the moment is very desperate for thousands of people, particularly on the island of Leyte where the storm hit hardest. The United Nations estimates that 1.9 million people are in 1,100 evacuation centers, multitudes are without food, and looting and violence are now prevalent in response to despair.(1) In addition, experts claim that power for many will not be accessible for two months. (2) These are the objective realities.
Only 3 weeks prior to the typhoon hitting the island of Leyte, our South East Asia team at G.O.D. Int'l made a decision to set up a hub on this island to work from in the coming years. And now, after tragic disaster, we recognize the needs we face in this area are far greater and more urgent. We believe there is no better place for us to carry out the responsibilities to serve the poor than in Leyte. With the Lord’s guidance, we are ready to take on the task.
As an organization, we want to play what part we can in beginning to rebuild the lives of our Filipino brothers and sisters. In the next few months, we will be organizing relief efforts to send teams to the island of Leyte where we will work with other NGOs and churches to provide the relief people need.
We have family members and long-time friends who live in and around Tacloban City, where the storm made the most powerful impact. Rina Miller, our Filipino cooperative and member of our development team, is originally from Tacloban City, but was on the northern island of Luzon when the storm hit. Her mother and siblings, however, suffered through the storm in Tacloban. Gregg Garner, the founder of G.O.D. Int'l, whose mother is Filipina, lived in Tacloban during his parents’ missionary service. Much of his extended family still lives in and around Tacloban.
As we still await word from a few, we are grateful to have received word from most of these individuals. While they survived, life in the coming months will be very difficult for them and hundreds of thousands of others. Because of this connection, we understand our responsibility to be actively involved in the relief efforts both now and in the months and years to come.
Initially, our plan is to support our friend Pastor Jaime Balista and his team who will travel from the neighboring island of Cebu with food and other essentials and begin basic relief efforts. In addition to food, you can imagine there will be much need for shelter, medical assistance and other basic clothing and hygienic items.
If you are looking for a way to help, please know that this is a real opportunity for 100% of your money to go towards on-the-ground relief efforts in a very practical way. God Bless.
(1) "Philippines: Newly open roads, airports allow in more aid but fuel shortage remains." UN News Center. UN, 15 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. .
(2) DOE: 1 year to restore electricity." philstar.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. .