Philippines (MNN) — The number of dead: unknown. The number of missing: unknown. The amount of destruction? Indescribable.
The most powerful typhoon to ever hit land created a swath of destruction that few can fathom but thousands in the Central Philippines will remember forever.
Packing 190 mile per hour winds and a deluge of rain, Typhoon Haiyan hit the central part of the Philippines Friday. Tocloban seems to be one of the hardest-hit areas, but with communications cut, it’s impossible to know that for sure.
SEND International has been working in the Philippines since World War II. Trent Rollings with SEND Canada says, “I’ve been hearing reports, as well, that there are people who haven’t eaten for four days now and are getting desperate. So, there’s a lot of looting going on. People are just really desperate, even looking for food in places right beside dead bodies.”
Based in Manila, Rollings says, “I think this country has never seen any kind of devastation like this. The videos that are coming up on the news are comparable to tsunami damage, actually. That is because the storm surge that came with the typhoon ended up being 5 meters (over 16 feet), even higher in some places.”
That was preceded by winds of 300 km (186 mph), which destroyed thousands of buildings in its path.
While reports are suggesting 10,000 people have died in the storm, Rollings says it’s impossible to know because of the lack of communications. “There are a lot of very isolated islands that have thousands, if not tens of thousands of people on them. It’s hard to know what that damage is.”
Since the storm didn’t lose that much strength as it swept across the region, Rollings believes there could be thousands of other victims.
SEND is connected to more than 30,000 national churches in the Philippines. SEND’s Liz Givens says many of these churches will be the launching point of relief. The needs will be unfathomable. “Many people make their living fishing. Their boats are gone. They live near the shore. Their houses are gone. They harvest their coconut palms and their bananas. Those are gone. Yes, they will regrow, but it’s going to take some time, and right now there are people hungry, thirsty, and hurt.”
SEND International is collecting funds for relief. Your generous support will go directly to the relief efforts. Click here to give safely and securely.
Your support helps with physical needs of the victims, as well as spiritual. As Christians reach out, sharing the Gospel is essential in everything they do.
We’ll have more on SEND’s efforts in the days ahead. We hope to interview Bishop Efraim Tendero, the head of the Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches. Stay tuned.