Thank you for your continued prayers for the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan at the end of last year. God has moved in powerful ways to address the needs of the beautiful Filipino communities we served, and you played a major role in the relief efforts.
When Jack Eans, our Vice President for International Child Ministries who works with our staff in the field, visited the areas hardest hit in the Philippines with our project staff a month after the typhoon struck Cebu Island, the need that stood out front and center is that of shelter. Home after home had been demolished.
They visited nearly 50 homes of One Child Matters children – all had been flattened and all their belongings ruined or exposed to the elements. In the weeks since the storm some had been able to begin a little reconstruction, tapping into government aid to get some metal sheets for roofs. But most had simply propped up salvaged pieces of their houses and put tarps over them. Others dispersed to sleep with other family, some even slept on the sand. Tents donated by Taiwan Red Cross mostly went to those with disabilities. There were no refugee centers with cots, blankets, food and water and other supplies. They were still very exposed to the elements, again living in makeshift shelters right beside the ruins of their homes.
We spoke to many children and parents about what they went through during the storm. Most talked about the incredible sound and blast of the wind – a deafening roar and whistle, then watching roofs raise and blow off, trees twisting and snapping, and running to neighboring homes when theirs fell down. They took shelter in the churches only to watch those roofs blow off.
There were miracles, though! First, no one got a scratch. With debris, coconuts, sheet metal flying and swirling and roofs and walls collapsing on top, somehow no one even got hurt. Second, the storm hit at low tide, meaning there was no storm surge. If it had hit at high tide the island and the coastal area of Daan Batayan would have been swamped. And third, local leaders did an amazing job at getting people to leave their homes for shelters. Countless would have been killed if they had stayed in the simple structures they called home.
The relief efforts
In the months since, much of the world has forgotten the remaining need of these already underserved communities, but we have not. The children continue to display good resilience, hope, and typical child-like reactions to all the hustle and bustle. Many were content to play in the rain or create obstacle courses out of the downed palm trees.But the parents are worried. People are scrambling to rebuild their lives, burning the rubbish and continuing the clean-up. This is the time to respond and make a sustainable difference.
And you have responded! Your gifts to the CCF were immediately put into the relief efforts, providing food and shelter materials for the families of the children we served.
We estimated between 100-120 homes of One Child Matters children need to be rebuilt completely or have additional supplies provided to finish what they have started. The community staff in the Philippines continue to check on the families to determine the level of need and what the families themselves can contribute toward rebuilding.
The power of partnership
Using your gifts to the Children’s Crisis Fund, plus other donations from our incredible partners, we were able to help them begin to rebuild and do so well, together. The Garrisons, local missionaries who help us coordinate our work in the Philippines, were ready and able to meet the needs of the communities we have served thanks to a strong partnership with Convoy of Hope. The Garrisons had a shipping container full of enriched rice meals at the ready, plus another on its way.
Convoy of Hope helped us continue to get relief supplies to the areas that needed it most. A U.S. church partner stepped forward to help raise money to help with rebuilding efforts as you, our sponsors, continued to donate to the Children’s Crisis Fund. The board of One Child Matters voted to make a substantial donation toward rebuilding efforts, and Convoy of Hope stepped forward to match it!
We have been able to respond with your donations, plus $120,000 from One Child Matters and Convoy of Hope to begin rebuilding homes in the community.
Churches and sponsors continue to step up to donate funds, for which we are so grateful. As you can see in the photos below, the rebuilding efforts continue. But homes are being restored and rebuilt, and Jesus is being glorified in the process!