Philippines (MNN) — Super Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette, claimed over 375 lives in the Philippines this weekend, and the death toll keeps rising. More details emerge as parts of the archipelago restore communication.
Asian Access is on the ground, helping through local partners. “We see damaged houses, churches, flooded streets; there is a power outage in Cebu, and now no water,” National Director Herman Moldez says.
“It’s difficult and [chaotic] but, at the same time, we see people beginning to organize [a response].”
The strongest storm of 2021 made landfall on Thursday, affecting more than 1.8 million Filipinos. Information is still coming in, but many already compare Rai to Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the deadliest cyclone on record.
“They experienced the same devastation and rising waters; it’s comparable to that situation (Haiyan). But I think people are more prepared [this time], so therefore, the disruption is not as big and fast,” Moldez says.
Government officials preemptively evacuated more than 300,000 Filipinos before Rai made landfall, opening 674 evacuation centers. Hundreds of towns and villages in the central-south Philippines lack survival essentials like shelter, food, and water.
Requesting prayer, one Filipino pastor told Asian Access via text:
“Devastation in the Philippines after Typhoon (Odette/Rai) passed through… in some islands, 90-percent of buildings destroyed.”
“We’re trying to assess the situation, understand the needs; we are gathering local resources as much as we can [to] respond to what is needed,” Moldez says.
“Asian Access here (in the Philippines) is a small group, but we are part of a bigger network,” he continues, referring to the ministry’s collaboration with the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches.
Needs will vary by location. “Localities have different challenges,” Moldez says, but he expects immediate response efforts to include “helping (people) rebuild their places; give some food and water.”
Send help through Asian Access here. Pray people will find the hope of Christ through local believers.
“In the Philippines, Christmas celebration is a big thing, [and then] comes the typhoon. Pray they (Filipinos) will find meaning in celebrating Christmas amid this crisis and catastrophe,” Moldez requests.
“Pray for our pastors. They, too, have suffered. In spite of that, they continue to serve. Pray they will be strengthened in the Spirit.”
Header image depicts Super Typhoon Rai on December 17, 2021. (Wikimedia Commons)