CRWRC prepares for worst in the Philippines

By October 23, 2009

Philippines (MNN) — As Typhoon Lupit eventually leaves the Philippines, one thing is for certain — more damage and more disease will follow. That's troubling, because the Philippines has been devastated by two previous storms, Ketsana and Parma.

The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee is in the region helping. Senior project manager for international disaster response for the CRWRC is Grace Wiebe. While typhoons are common in the Philippines, storm surge has been the most damaging. "For example, in the Bay of Luzon, the water rose 3.4 meters spilling into the lakeside villages," says Wiebe. "Those villages could stay flooded for two or three months."

While the common waterborne diseases are having their effect on the population, one is not-so-common. "It's called Leptospirosis, and the Philiippines government is worried about an epidemic. It kills about eight percent of the people it affects. It's a kidney- and liver-destroying disease and comes from animal urine in the water."

According to government reports, at least 148 people had died in the leptospirosis outbreak, and 1,963 were infected. CRWRC is preparing to send medication to help treat these illnesses. The organization is also beingasked to establish medical programs to deal with this disease and others that are affecting the region.

While these disasters have devastated communities, the church is prepared, says Wiebe. "The CRWRC has trained many, many CRC church in the Philippines to do disaster response. So they mobilize very quickly, and they are going out." As they help physically, they're also able to help spiritually.

Wiebe is asking people to pray that the water will recede, illness will be curtailed, and financial assistance will be provided. She says three disasters hit within one week: "Samoa, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Certainly, it's an economic time of difficulty for people in the world, so we're encouraged by the generous hearts of people who give."

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