(Photo courtesy of Gospel for Asia)
Philippines (MNN) ― Torrential rains and flooding crippled the northern Philippines last week.
According to BBC News, 60 were reported dead. But the government’s disaster management agency says the estimate is probably higher since it’s difficult to gather fatality reports from the rural areas.
The waters are receding, but in many areas, water is still chest-deep. Philippine officials say it is unsafe for residents to return home at this point. 2 million people have been affected by the flooding.
Tim Glenn with Compassion International says, “They’re just not prepared for it. They don’t have the drainage systems or the infrastructure to deal with it.”
These floods are not uncommon during monsoon season. However, Philippine residents say this series of flooding was the worst they’ve seen in three years.
Compassion works with 54,000 children in the Philippines and has several projects of ministry in the Manila area where flooding hit hard. These projects focus on child development through Christ-centered ministry in local churches. When the church is flooded, it shuts down the ministry.
According to Glenn, “We know that seven projects for sure were affected. We’re estimating 800 kids affected by the floods. Some are in the evacuation centers. Some whose homes are just flooded had to flee somewhere else to higher ground or family members. We’re thinking that when it’s all said and done, probably 10 projects will be affected.”
Compassion workers are taking steps to get families and ministries back on their feet. “First we have to assess the damage of course and see what needs to be done,” says Glenn. “Our first priority is the safety of our kids. [We are] making sure that we can try to track down as many of the kids as possible right now, and that’s difficult.”
They have a disaster relief fund to meet families’ needs with food, clothing, and shelter.
But in the midst of disaster, Compassion along with the Filipino church is spreading the hope of the Gospel.
“One of the beauties of our setup is that people will come back to the church for help and relief. And that’s where our kids are already,” Glenn states. “So this is a great opportunity for us to further our message of the Gospel, but also further our message of how important the kids are especially in God’s eyes.”
More rains are expected to come over the next few days, and a typhoon has been predicted.
Glenn asks, “Please pray for our kids, because this is horrifying for a child to see their entire home washed away, their belongings washed away, and having to start all over again. Sadly it’s a reality for thousands and thousands of kids throughout Manila and the Philippines.”