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Thousands still displaced after flash flood in Philippines

By January 5, 2012

Philippines (MNN) — Communities on the Island of Mindanao, Philippines continue to pick up the pieces following a devastating flash flood December 16 that killed more than 1,000 people.

Of those hit by the catastrophe three weeks ago, many are still affected, says Director of Emergency Response for Food for the Hungry Peter Howard says, "About three quarters of a million people have been affected by this disaster. And at least 40,000 to 50,000 people are living in evacuation centers."

While Food for the Hungry can't help all of them, they're doing their part through two local churches. "Since the storm hit 2 1/2 weeks ago, those churches–with the help of Food for the Hungry and other partnerships–have been responding and reaching out and meeting needs in their community."

FH is working with a Light of the World Church and another Wesleyan church in the region. Howard says through these churches, they're helping with food, clothing, medical supplies, and hygiene kits.

However, FH is going to start doing more for the children, says Howard. "After a disaster like this, children get separated from their families and parents. Also, their lives get interrupted."

That's why FH through other partnerships are starting Child Friendly Spaces. This is a place created that helps children cope. Howard said,"They can go to school, and even if it's not in a school, maybe a tented area — an area where they can be safe and away from the effects of disaster. They can learn, play and be children. And, that protects them from the dangers going on around them."

Howard says this outreach helps physically, and also spiritually. "Food for the Hungry comes alongside these churches to reach out not only to their own parishioners, but into their community. And it really is an amazing opportunity for Christians to show the love of Christ to people who are suffering."

It's uncertain low long FH will be in this area. "This is their community, and our job is to build the capacity to reach out in the name of Jesus to their community. So we'll stay as long as we're asked. But when they're on their feet and ready to go, that might be time for us to move somewhere else where there's a need," adds Howard.

Howard says $100 can actually start a child friendly space. If you'd like to help, click here.

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