Philippines (MNN) — The president of the Philippines,
Gloria Arroyo, declared a "state of calamity" for the entire country last
Friday. Residents were still reeling from tropical storm Ketsana when they learned Typhoon Parma was headed their way. Parma's high winds only aggravated Ketsana's record floods.
Declaring a state of calamity will allow the country to use
emergency funds and impose price controls.
As of Friday, 400,000 people took refuge in schools,
gymnasiums and any other makeshift shelters the government and non-government
organizations (NGOs) could provide.
"The rains from Parma threatened to worsen already-squalid
conditions and further hamper relief supplies for the survivors in those
shelters," AFP reported.
AMG International is on the ground. Of their 32 childcare
centers in the Philippines, 17 are in metro Manila–one of the areas hit
hardest by these storms.
After Ketsana hit, eight of their centers were flooded, stranding
AMG staff and preventing them from providing aid to all who need it. The other centers
still above flood level were turned into shelters for those displaced from
Roger Thomas with AMG said these centers are providing food
and clothing for some. Currently, food is the greates need, as some of the
refugees had not eaten since the first storm struck.
Thomas said the situation is frustrating: "Our truck pulled
up to one of our centers with a limited amount of relief … we didn't have
enough to give to everybody."
The lingering flood waters and lack of resources, coupled
with the government and NGOs who were unprepared for the first storm, are
making relief efforts extremely difficult. Also, as several feet of water cover
large areas of the region, medical risks, such as water-borne diseases, will
Thomas said they can still get to many of their centers and
use their trucks to get food to those who have none. However, they lack enough money to
purchase the amount of food needed.
While AMG struggles with
providing aid to the many needy people across the country, they still remain
faithful to their calling to share the Good New; they see this time as an
"Anytime you help
somebody, whether it's a flood or a tsunami or an earthquake or whatever, they
greatly appreciate what you've done for them. And they will be willing to
befriend you and listen to what you have to say," Thomas said.
Pray for the victims
of tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma. Pray that they will see the love of
Christ reflected in the work AMG and other mission agencies are doing in the
area. Pray for the waters to recede and rebuilding and restoration to begin