TACLOBAN: Church urged to pray for the victims, as the Haiyan wretchedness continues to nag the Filipinos.
Typhoon Haiyan, is factually one of the strongest storms in chronicled history; with relentless winds reaching up to 200 mph. Tragically brutality of Haiyan continues to have a devastating effect on the Philippines. The storm struck the eastern shores of the country on Friday whilst its fury did not relent across the weekend, trampling everything on in its path.
Even though, the typhoon has now moved ahead causing landfall in northern Vietnam, where it has since weakened to tropical storm status, nonetheless Philippines is still suffering the consequences of the cataclysm. Large-scale stroms, however, are not aliens to the country – Haiyan is the 25th tropical storm to hit the island group this year.
Tearfund a relieve organisation working for the disaster struck Filipinos said,” Its local partners were working year-round with vulnerable communities to provide response training in the case of emergencies.” Early warning systems even so, meant that extensive evacuations were put into operation beforehand. However, regardless of the swift response of the emergency services and humanitarian agencies; the original hopes that the number of casualties would be small have been marred by soaring death toll which continues to climb.
If truth be told Haiyan hit some of the deprived areas in Philippines, including Bohol, Romblon and Samar islands. Officials approximate that in access of 10,000 people have died in Tacloban – the coastal capital of Leyte province.
Tearfund is collaborating with several local Churches to help out the Haiyan victims; who unfortunately have lost their homes and loved ones across the country. Yet relief efforts have been mired on account of power cuts and teething troubles in reaching many places devastated by the storm besides the landslides triggered by the squall.
Matthew Frost- Chief Executive of Tearfund explicates problems they are facing to communicate effectively with their partners in Philippines saying, “We keep hearing more and more bad news as the death toll figures increase. Our partners are in the evacuation centres, giving care to survivors who need food, water, and help to find their loved ones.”
Meanwhile, rescue operations and food distributions have started to the surviving; nevertheless forlornly there are entire areas of the island where survivors have not yet been located. Alwynn Javier- Senior Programme Officer for Christian Aid, has also initiated a comprehensive relief operation in the typhoon hit areas states that the destruction caused by the storm is on a scale that has “never been seen before”.
“It has covered a vast area, including islands where the infrastructure was already limited. Air and seaports are closed, and power lines are down, cutting off entire provinces and leaving many communities stranded. Damage to buildings and infrastructure is extremely severe,” he continued.
Tearfund is urging the Church to consider that although Haiyan has now passed, the Philippines will be wobbling from its shattering consequences long into the future. “It can take years for people to rebuild their lives. As well as the urgent and practical things, we know that there will be a lot of grief as people come to terms with bereavement. We must pray for thousands of people who are grieving and ask God how He wants each of us to respond to their needs.”
“Please also pray for the Churches who are sending teams out … that [they] will stay safe and well on their travels, and that they would be able to bring hope to the people they meet,” said Frost.