Philippines: Emergency Disaster Relief Efforts

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Whenever there is a disaster in the Philippines, we receive requests for aid from partner churches and we will help them as long as we have funds available to do so.

The key to our relief work is empowering churches and mobilizing volunteers. Volunteers help purchase, deliver and repack items, prepare venues, invite recipients, assist with distribution and also do follow-up ministry.

Relief (mercy) ministry is biblical and necessary for several reasons: it displays God’s common grace for all afflicted people, it develops goodwill in communities which becomes a bridge for the Good News to reach communities, families, and individuals, and gets relief workers into places where we would not normally go and in contact with people we would not normally meet.

ACTION’s key verses for mercy ministry are Galatians 6:9-10: ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’ (NIV).

Check this page often for updates. Photos and articles can be found on the internet.

Bohol Earthquake Photos: The Weather ChannelBoston.com

Typhoon Haiyan Photos: TIME Lightbox (warning graphic)The Weather ChannelBoston.com

1.7 million children are especially at risk in the disaster zone: Artlicle

As of November 28, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 5,560 dead, 26,136 injured and 1,757 still missing from the typhoon.

January 11, 2014

Here is where ACTION is headed today, Tagbilaran, Bohol. We will be there until Saturday. Pray for a good trip and effective ministry. On Monday we will have a conference for pastors in Tagbilaran. Tuesday through Thursday we will go to Maribojoc, Laon, Sagbayan and Inabanga to host Christmas parties for children affected by the October earthquake and medical clinics. Those included in the team are Jeff & Mary Ann Anderson, Dave & Becky Majam, Luv Zacal, Elna Serbo, Paul & Pat Ellis, Adam Hussey and short term workers Al & Sonia Tadeo. There are several others including some from Christian Growth Ministries. Nelson and Linda Reed will be joining us later in the week. Check the link below for the map of Bohol.

December 2, 2013

Steve Read: I am back from the survey trip to the typhoon impacted region. On Facebook, I reflected, “Ruminating. Processing. Decompressing. . . How to describe what’s happening in me right now after a week in the Haiyan/Yolanda typhoon zone? And how does one put into words seeing so many homes and churches ripped up? And the constant searching for relief goods to help sustain one’s family for a few more days? Though I don’t quite know where to begin, perhaps these pictures may help to tell the story. . .”

I’ve posted those pictures, and more, at this link on Picasa. I hope they will tell in pictures and a few words, some of what I observed. Please note that there are captions to help tell the story.

Tuesday and Wednesday I will meet with ACTION leaders and with leaders of our sister organization, Christian Growth Ministries. Please pray as God leads to further focus our response. Also please pray for what the next step of my involvement will be. I want to use my time wisely to the maximum benefit of the team while I am here.

In the midst of the mess of tragedy, there is hope. And an openness. Doors open themselves to share the love of Christ and the truth about Christ. People are asking, “Why?” We don’t know. But we do know “what”—what He wants now: to shine love and mercy through His people, the character of Christ brightly radiating where it is most needed to be seen. Lord, help us to be those kind of people.

Jeff Anderson: Last Wed we visited Sagbayan, Bohol where the 7.2 quake was centered & lots of destruction. In the yard of their totally destroyed municipal building there are several tents housing the mayor, several govt offices, their public market & families. As I was going around looking at the war-like situation & greeting people I met a newlywed young couple living in a tent (hot by day/cold by night) sleeping on a mat on the ground dependant upon relief for now because he’s a farmer & lost everything. They told me their horrifiying story. The guys’s brother was killed in the quake leaving behind his wife & 7 children. I prayed for them & introduced them to our team. The next day they came to our host church & got relief for themselves & their tent neighbors. This was a divine appt. Living the gospel.

The shipment of relief goods from Manila arrived on Saturday and was unloaded today. It will be resorted and distributed on Tuesday, December 3.

November 28, 2013

Jeff Anderson at 4pm on Thursday: The shipment left Manila this morning and arrives in Bohol on Saturday at 4am. Saturday is a national holiday so we won’t be able to get our shipment until Monday. Luv will stay to get container and oversee the distribution. There’s nothing we can do about it. It is the Lord’s timing. In the meantime, we are working doing trauma debriefing, looking into the possibility of returning to conduct a Bible seminar on how to use the NLT Life Application Study Bibles and a possible pastor’s conference so time is being well used.

Jeff Anderson: We had a good first day in Bohol. We meet several pastors who are glad we came to visit and help them. We saw lots of damage and power was restored two days ago in parts of the province but still blackouts. I talked with a very traumatized lady who’s keeping a candle vigal at her centuries old church which is a huge pile of rubble. About 2pm there was an aftersock and was she very jittery [Addition from Mary Ann Anderson: Pray for Jeff Anderson and his team in Bohol. They learned on Wednesday that the shipping container that was supposed to arrive on Tuesday did not leave Manila as scheduled.] We surveyed the interior of Bohol on Wednesday including the town of Sabayan where the quake was centered. We saw many collapsed buildings, crumpled homes and talked with several people living in tents. The delay of our relief gave us time to be up close to destruction and face to face with people. Two aftershocks yesterday caused people to be jumpy. Pray our relief arrives tonight pls so we get it to people who need the items. Thanks for praying!

Pami Ellis: Food is being delivered, shelter is being made. What we need is trauma counseling. We need teams from Filipino churches with counseling skills coming with a generator, projector, and evangelistic movies to then have discussion groups after. That would be SO powerful! Please pray for God’s continued protection and the right open doors.

Steve Read: On my part, I will fly to Cebu early Tuesday morning, and then take a ferry to Ormoc, Leyte. Ormoc is across the island from Tacloban that is in the news so much. My task there will be to meet with TOPIC pastors, access the need, and lay the ground work for ongoing relationship and accountability in use of resources. (TOPIC is the national pastoral mentoring strategy with which I ministered while we were here in the Philippines.) It definitely sounds like a desperate situation with pastors reporting homes and church buildings destroyed, and lack of food and water. On Thursday I will ferry back to Cebu to catch a flight to Iloilo. A partnering organization notified us of a conference of churches pleading for assistance and asked if we could check it out. With the guidance of the conference leaders, I will visit their damaged churches on Friday to access their need. On Saturday I will fly back to Manila. Please pray for safety this week, connections, wisdom, and a heart that will not break.

Nelson Reed: Continue to pray for ACTION personnel serving in various capacities in the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines) relief effort. Here is a partial list of those involved: Mike Gingerich – giving overall leadership to the missions involvement, Jeff Anderson – leading the ACTION Emergency Disaster Relief ministry and presently in Bohol doing earthquake relief and assessing typhoon needs for places where ACTION can focus, Paul Ellis – Bohol relief and assisting pastors who lost Bibles and books, on Jeff’s team, Pami Ellis – medical relief in Tacloban and other affected areas, Shelley Conradson – typhoon relief with Philippine Military, David Majam, Pastor Ligan,and Luv Zacal– Bohol relief, on Jeff’s team. Others helping with logistics and Manila evacuees: Mary Ann Anderson, Patti Ellis, Gary Root, Barb Burchert, and Mervi. Sorry to those I missed in this list.

November 24, 2013

Barb Burchert: Last Wednesday one of the Mustard Seed staff and myself went to help with the transport of typhoon victims at the Villamore Airbase in Manila. We left home at 6 am and arrived at 8 am. There wasn’t a need for volunteers at the grandstand but a need to drive people to family members around Metro Manila. So we signed up, got our vehicle number and headed to the pick up area. Our first family had just arrived that day at 6 am on the C130 transport. They had been in line for 3 days with only water. First thing, food. Second thing, debriefing with a social worker. Third thing, meeting Mervi and me and loading their things into my vehicle. Three adults and three kids and a ton of WET things, mainly clothes, packed in whatever they could find. The trip was quiet as they all fell asleep quickly. Their relatives live very close to our campus so I knew where I was going. When we arrived, all the relatives who lived at the house came outside, jumping and cheering, to greet the family. Lots of tears were shed, including mervi and me.

Mervi and I ate lunch on the road as we headed back to the airbase. It was around 1 pm and when we arrived there were a number of volunteer drivers already waiting. I said to mervi, we’ll wait until 3 and see if we are needed. The next flight came in around 3 so we waited. while waiting, 8 large busses arrived at the airbase loaded with people from tacloban. they had been traveling for a few days on bus and ferry from the south. I was overwhelmed to see all the faces of children in the windows, knowing that they had been traveling for a while. I new we had to wait then. Around 4, we were connected with a woman who was on the flight. She went down there after the typhoon looking for family members. She did find a couple and spent most of her time volunteering at the catholic church there, helping as she could. She also waited in line at the airport for 3 days with only water. She had been wearing tennis shoes. They were wet and were causing blisters on her feet. I asked the social worker if we could get some flipflops for her. we did. Her family also lived very close to where I live. She and mervi talked all the way home, about her family there and about her experiences. She was very happy to be back here. Very grateful for the help that we gave her.

It was a long day for us and even longer days for those we help. We arrived home at 7:30 pm. but i am so glad that we were able to help these two families even in this small way.

November 22, 2013 Update

Gary Root: At 3:30 this morning Pastor Mel, Renato (WH staff), and 7 Working Hands boys left for Manila to load a container with blankets, tarps, mats, food and clothing which will be shipped to Bohol early next week. (See pictures.) Bohol is one of many regions devastated by the recent typhoon. The ACTION disaster relief team, led by Jeff Anderson, will work with churches in the area to distribute needed supplies. These poor people were trying to recover from the terrible earthquake last October when the typhoon hit and brought further devastation. Many of you have sent money to help in this need – thank you! Help will be needed long after the publicity of this event is over. Please pray for many to turn to the Lord during this time and for the Church to be enabled to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people.

Even the poor want to help. An offering was taken at our church and a little over $20 was raised for the storm victims. That may not sound like a lot of money but many of these families have a hard time feeding their own families. The Working Hands boys who cold not go to Manila met together this morning and decided that they would fast for two meals and send the money saved to the people more needy than them. It was a humbling experience for me to see their deep desire to help even though all of them are themselves needy. It reminded me of the Macedonian Church in 2 Corinthians 8 where they begged Paul for the privilege of giving toward the need of the starving people in Jerusalem. Paul said it was out of their extreme poverty and severe trial that they gave more than they were able- but it was also out of their overflowing joy.

Jeff Anderson: Thanks to the help of students from Working Hands, Luv Zacal, Frank Egalla and several others, our relief goods are loaded in a shipping container and set to leave Manila 4am Monday and arrive in Tagbilaran, Bohol 7pm Tuesday. This process was not easy. The men were at the pier, ready to load the goods on a container, but no containers were available. After waiting several hours, we sent out word to as many people as we could to pray that one would become available. The Lord sent two Christian men who were able to help and secure a shipping container so the goods could be loaded by 1pm. We have purchased airplane tickets leaving Manila Tuesday 8:25am and we’ll return Saturday. Those going to Bohol are Paul Ellis, Luv Zacal, Dave Majam, Pastor Ligan and me.

Pat Ellis (regarding her daughter Pami): I just talked to Pami in Tacloban. Being in the right place just as a US officer came in with an urgent need for a doctor, she and Dr. Scott boarded a chopper with four supply boxes and they were off to Leyte, Leyte! They filled the need and were back in two hours. Tomorrow they head out to Balangkayan, E Samar in a vehicular caravan and she asks for prayer. They return Saturday afternoon.

Pat Ellis (regarding her husband Paul): Paul will be going to Bohol for earthquake relief with churches on Tuesday. They have three days of relief and then will travel north to see the situation from the typhoon. He will be specifically be talking with pastors about their Bibles to ask how many now have no Bible and how we may help them. The relief goods go to the pier this morning and will be shipped Monday morning. Pls pray they arrive in good order and on time at Taglibaran City, Bohol Tuesday evening.

November 21, 2013 Update

Jeff Anderson: Our container of relief items (sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, tarps, clothes) for Bohol is confirmed to leave Manila 7am Monday, November 25 and will arrive there Tuesday 26th at 7pm. Our team will go there mid-week for the relief distribution. We’re also working on arranging pastoral care conference/s and seminar/s for pastors/workers using the NLT Life Application Study Bible (my favorite) to replace their tools of trade-Bibles/books which were damaged or destroyed. This will be a joint project with Christian Growth Ministries and Paul and Pat Ellis.

Pami Ellis: Tomorrow morning (November 21), a team of two doctors and two nurses will be boarding a commercial flight to Tacloban City, the hub and devastated city in the province of Leyte. We will spend the day surveying the area and networking with others to determine how we can best assist in the relief efforts. On Friday and Saturday, we will be joining Compassion International partner churches about 2 hours away to provide medical relief for the local area. We are going prepared with tents, sleeping bags, water purification tablets to survive….oh, and a whole heap of medical supplies and meds.

The team is scheduled to return Sunday, regroup, and determine how best to continue in the relief efforts. I have been tentatively asked to remain in Tacloban and join the Christian Medical & Dental Association’s relief efforts in Baybay for two weeks, where they have been asked by the UN to repair and run the local hospital. Teams of doctors and nurses from the US will be joining us as we try to run a hospital with limited water and generators.

November 19, 2013 Earthquake Relief planned for Cortez, Bohol 

After meeting with ministry partners, Jeff Anderson and ACTION’s Street Impact Team have developed a plan to bring relief goods for the earthquake victims in Cortez, Bohol later this week. They learned that the churches there are still in great need for relief and trauma debriefing. Pray that they will be able to purchase relief goods in Manila and arrange shipment to Bohol. If that can be arranged, the team will go to Bohol on Thursday or Friday, November 21 or 22.

Several ACTION missionaries are preparing to volunteer at the Villamor Air Base in Manila where many refugees are delivered. The people arriving need basics of food, clothing, medicine and trauma debriefing so volunteers are needed. Pray that we will be able to find avenues for ministry there.

November 14, 2013 Earthquake and Typhoon Relief Update

ACTION is mobilizing personnel and resources for relief work with partner churches in the affected areas.  Jeff Anderson is our Emergency Disaster Relief Coordinator there and has been gathering news from partnering churches and other sources in order to draw up a plan for ACTION’s part in disaster relief.

ACTION will be conducting relief work in the aftermath of that earthquake in Bohol next week. Our grave concern is that even though the eye of typhoon Haiyan didn’t go directly through Bohol, the storm would have wreaked absolute havoc among the thousands of families still living in tent cities. We are gathering reports on the extent of the effects of Haiyan on Bohol.

Jeff is also connecting with partner churches in the Visayas region, investigating where we can be of the most help. Once they identify the locations, they will purchase supplies in Manila and determine how best to ship them. This will be dangerous because vehicles transporting relief goods can be attacked and the goods pilfered by the hungry, desperate people.

Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction was much greater than that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Do you remember how disorganized and chaotic that relief effort was?  Haiyan was 3.2 times stronger and caused vastly more damage! Reports from the Philippines speak of terrible disarray and chaos overshadowing the relief efforts.

November 14, 2013 Earthquake and Typhoon Prayer Requests

Pray for the ACTION Philippine team as they investigate, plan and mobilize! Pray for wisdom, strength and resources as the Philippine team moves forward. Pray that they will not grow weary. Pray for protection for the relief team when it goes to the disaster area because doing relief for disasters of this magnitude is very dangerous. ACTION needs God’s providential direction to go to the right places at the right times.

In the midst of this ACTION is still gearing up for our Christmas ministry outreach in December so funds are still needed for this ministry as well. Jeff’s team wants to be able to provide Christmas parties for children who have been affected by the disaster. This may seem odd in light of all the disaster but it brings a tremendous emotional boost to these kids and gives us many more opportunities to present the gospel.

Pray for government officials, military personnel, peace keepers, and for all the multifarious relief organizations and workers, that God would providentially impress on them wisdom and understanding as to how to address the incredible needs and suffering. Pray especially for God’s people, both believers in the Philippines and those who go to help, that they will be instruments of God’s compassionate care and mercy. Pray too that God’s people worldwide will give sacrificially to aid our brothers and sisters in Christ to serve their people with the love of Christ.

November 2013: Deadly Typhoon Haiyan strikes the middle of the Philippines

It’s feared super typhoon Haiyan (Philippine name Yolanda) killed 4,000+ people and she left a trail of utter destruction. She was 3.5x stronger than Katrina. The storm surge was 10 meters high. The people from the Visayas region are pleading for help and we need to respond. Please pray with us as we are developing our relief plans and praying for wisdom, strength and resources.

October 2013: Earthquake in Bohol Region

Jeff Anderson wrote: On October 15, 8:12am a 7.2 earthquake rocked the provinces of Bohol and Cebu and Siquijor Is in central Philippines killed 90+ people, injured many with several missing and caused lots of damage. Street Impact Team’s relief operation plan for earthquake victims in devastated Bohol in the central Philippines is developing. We want to provide a set of a sleeping mat, mosquito net, blanket and tarp to 600 families so they aren’t sleeping on the ground or cardboard in the cold sometimes rainy open air. We also want to put up an “open kitchen” using Feed My Starving Children food for one week. The total cost to do this plus send three people is an estimated $16,300. Goods are hard to purchase there so we plan to buy the items in Manila and ship them so we’re looking into getting a reduced shipping cost or free so this isn’t included in the cost. We currently have $4,000 so we’re praying for a minimum of $12,300. Pray with us please and give if you can. Lord willing our team will do this Nov 16-21. Its the “same old same old” there with the best and worst of people showing itself now. We are moved to do good in the name of Jesus.