Philippines (MNN) — Typhoon Washi devastated the Island of Mindanao, Philippines December 16. 1,000 people died, and thousands were displaced by the flash flood that hit during the evening hours. Many are still displaced. However, Food for the Hungry reports churches are working together to assist those in need.
It's been two months since the disaster. FH Executive Director for the Philippines Debbie Toribio just returned from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, two of the hardest-hit areas in the region. "The purpose of my meeting is to personally talk to the pastors about how best we can respond to their needs."
Toribio says, "We were able to see churches working together. They organized a network called Protect the Children Cagayan de Oro. In Iligan I saw churches that were not affected providing support to those pastors and churches that were devastated by the typhoon."
Food for the Hungry is coming alongside these local churches, "providing psychosocial support to children who are in evacuation centers," says Toribio. "We are also working alongside the church called Life of the Word Church. Through them, we are reaching out to those families who are in the evacuation centers."
In January, Mission Network News (MNN) talked with Pastor Jay Rosales just after the flooding. If you remember, his church was washed away. Toribio says she met with Pastor Rosales. "32 members of his church [were] lost. It's hard to comprehend, hard to give encouragement to his members because he himself was a victim of the disaster."
Toribio says financial support to Pastor Rosales and the Glorious Gospel Church would be a huge encouragement to them.
FH is providing assistance which is helping the church share the most important message. "Disaster is used by God to be an opening for us to reach out to the people and share the Gospel. Even when we don't speak, they will experience the love of Jesus by what we're doing."
In Cagayan de Oro alone, there are about 6,000 families still displaced. 2,000 homes are currently being rebuilt.
Toribio says if you'd like to help their efforts, you can contribute at FH.org .