Philippines (AMG/MNN) — Typhoon Tembin triggered deadly landslides
and flash floods yesterday, just weeks
after a series of deadly storms and monsoon rains swept through the northern
U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. just issued a disaster
declaration, and the United States pledged $100,000 for disaster relief efforts.
The high water brought parts of the Philippine capital, Manila, to
a stand-still. Schools and offices, many of which were flooded, remained
closed. AMG Philippines executive
director Hector Arana says the past few days have been a challenge for their team.
In his most recent
report, he noted that "many parts of Metro Manila and the provinces
are swamped because of two weeks of continuous torrential rains. In
the past three days, there has been over 30 inches of rainfall." News reports indicated that about 80% of
Metro Manila was underwater. The
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said
that a total of 454,093 families, or nearly two million people, in Metro
Manila and the five other regions are affected by floods caused by
the monsoon rains.
AMG Philippines has
18 centers in Metro Manila. Arana notes that 11 of them have been affected by
the floods, and four centers are under water. He writes, "We have distributed relief goods and items to about 830
sponsored families that could last for the next 2 days. Many from the
communities are asking for help as government and other NGO's relief assistance
is not enough because of the huge number of victims."
The monsoons and typhoons are an annual thing, as are the high
waters. Overcrowding in the urban
centers means that more people are affected by the floods, too. Arana
explains, "The 1.4 million squatter families–or about 5 million people
residing in Metro Manila–are always suffering because most of them live in
identified dangerous areas."
Arana goes on to explain that the problem will recur unless the government
responds. "We, as a Christian
Organization, or NGO's who are working toward development are often tempted to say things happen year by year, and we see no solutions until
the government is very serious to move these families to safer and
developed relocation sites. (There is a case now where about 20 of our families
were relocated to Kasiglahan, Rodriguez, Rizal, and last Tuesday many of them
were on the TV on their rooftop because their houses were flooded)."
In answer to the questions: "Is there still a point to do
flood relief? Are we just throwing money, time & strength?" Arana says,
"The Bible clearly states that 'you were not redeemed with
perishable thing like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited
from your forefathers, but with precious blood as a lamb unblemished and
spotless by the blood of Christ' (1Pet. 1:18-19). 'You are a chosen race,
royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession' (1 Peter
2:9). The difference with us Christians is that we base our activities and
resources on what God wants us to do. 1 Cor. 15:58 says, "Therefore, my beloved
brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your toil in not in vain in the Lord'."
However, that means
that the AMG Philippines relief coffers are empty. They want to provide flood relief to help
5,500 families within communities where the AMG centers are located. Distribution would be in partnership with
their Child Development Centers & Churches and existing local governments
and NGO's in the area.
Their mission is clear: through each contact, they are
meeting the physical needs, but also giving each person at least one opportunity to hear
and respond to the Gospel.
pray for the people of the Philippines and the AMG co-workers there. They want
to be ready to assist the survivors as soon as possible.