Philippines (MNN) — Update: 7 children with Compassion International are reported dead, and another 21 are missing due to flash flooding on the Philippine island of Mindanao last weekend.
In addition to children lost, 460 homes were affected by the disaster. 359 of those homes belonged to Compassion families and were completely destroyed.
Compassion International U.S. Communications Director Kathy Redmond says this disaster struck out of nowhere. “When you’re talking about a flash flood, you can’t really prepare for it. You don’t know it’s coming, and it seems to have hit right in the heart of a few Compassion projects.”
Many Philippine churches house child development projects through Compassion. But with many churches destroyed as well, those projects are inevitably affected.
“When you’re trying to bring the kids back to normal and provide some normalcy for them, usually it’s going to the projects. But if the projects are destroyed too…then obviously you can’t do that,” says Redmond. “So it really affects the kids mentally and psychologically.”
Redmond estimates that there are over 2,700 Compassion kids that have initially been affected in some way by this flooding. However, it is difficult to know for sure.
Compassion is currently working to raise funding to meet the needs of the community hit.
According to Redmond, “Initial estimates show that we will need more than $500,000 in both disaster and other funding which will provide immediate relief, recovery, and then rehabilitation.”
In these times of crisis in the Philippines, the Gospel is needed more than ever. “When you can provide that kind of message of hope and that kind of message of strength [in the Gospel]…that’s a survival need as well.”
Redmond refers to other times when disaster struck a community; the church was often the leader in bringing the community together to provide relief for those affected. She expects that to be happening now in the Philippines as well.
“You really see a spirit of cooperation between the churches because they know how important it is that they be functioning. They know how important it is to spread the Gospel…to be able to reach out and to provide for people’s needs in such a time as this.”
Please be in prayer for Compassion families and children still reeling in the wake of this disaster. Click here to donate to Compassion’s emergency relief fund.