Typhoon hits Philippines; ministry affected

By June 26, 2008

Philippines (MNN) — Rescue workers in the Philippines say 800 people are still missing after a passenger ferry capsized over the weekend after being hit by typhoon Fengshen. The typhoon struck over the weekend, displacing thousands as flood waters engulfed entire villages.

Food for the Hungry
(FH) was affected by the disaster, says Sara Sywulka, who is the director of relief programs. "The place where our offices are located have been without electricity. We know that a number of the communities with our child development program were directly affected. Some of the homes have been washed away. Others have lost their roofs or their flooring. People have been temporarily evacuated into shelters."

Reports indicate many areas have been unreachable with emergency assistance.

The Philippines receive up to 20 typhoons a year. Sywulka says FH will be helping. "We will probably end up focusing quite a bit on housing. Very poor families have been living in make shift housing. We'll help them rebuild, but build something that's solid enough that it can withstand any future typhoon that comes through."

Food For The Hungry will also be helping with immediate needs like food, water and other aid.

They'll be doing that by working through their existing church partners. "Part of our mission is to walk alongside leaders, churches and communities, and to build them up and build a vision and capacity in them to reach out into their community. Ultimately, we're trying to work ourselves out of a job."

Food for the Hungry has been working in the region for years. They help with child development needs through child sponsorships and other programs. They also assist with community development through micro-finance and vocational training.

Sywulka says through it all, Christ is the focus. "Responding to a situation like this is a very tangible way of showing God's love, and it's not unusual for people to ask us: 'Why are you doing this?' And that opens up an opportunity for us to share why we're doing it."

It's been a difficult year for disasters: Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, a devastating earthquake in China. These natural disasters coupled with a poor economy has made for a challenging time to raise money for aid and other outreach. Pray that God will provide for their needs so Food For The Hungry can reach out in His name.

Click here to help.

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