Four consecutive typhoons batter the Philippines
The typhoon-battered Philippines was still reeling from the devastations brought about by typhoons Pepito (Saudel), Quinta (Molave), and Rolly (Goni), when typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) ravaged the already wind-wrecked and rain-drenched eastern and northern regions of the country.
As the latest typhoon entered the country’s area of responsibility the state weather bureau raised storm signal number 3 over provinces that were in its path. People in flood-prone areas were evacuated, but the majority were surprised by the amount of water the typhoon poured over the central and the northern parts of Luzon, destroying crops, infrastructure, and livelihood.
Typhoon Vamco left major roads impassable because of flooding and toppled down electrical and communication towers. In the mountainous regions of Sierra Madre, several landslides were reported making relief operations difficult. Major dams across the northern region overflowed causing 15-meter-deep flooding in downstream towns and barangays.
The latest report records 67 deaths, 21 injuries, and 12 missings.
Damage to national properties was placed at 24.69 million US Dollars. The agriculture sector reported an estimated loss of 9.74 million US dollars, while the housing sector reported damage to 26,000 homes.
The president of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) Pastor Samuel Saw is inviting everyone within the division to pray fervently for the safety and comfort of those affected by this typhoon. “It is during this time that we seek earnestly for God’s protection from the wrath of such natural disasters. No matter how big the storms that will come our way, we always remember that God is our shelter and that this too shall pass,” Pastor Samuel Saw, SSD president.
ADVENTISTS RESPONDS TO DISPLACED FAMILIES
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Philippines) have been on the ground since the preceding three typhoons responding to families greatly affected. As soon as Typhoon Ulysses left the Philippines, the ADRA team conducted rapid assessments in areas affected to identify the primary needs of the community and to address those needs accordingly.
ADRA Philippines responded through local ACS teams with funding from ADRA and individual donors reaching over 500 affected families. It extended 250,000 pesos to the Northeast Luzon Mission of the Seventh-day Adventists where the Adventist Community Services (ACS) is spearheading the Church’s relief operations in the region. According to ADRA officials, food, medicine, blankets, and potable water are the primary needs of the families now in evacuation sites.
DIGITAL EVANGELISM INITIATIVE
The Philippines is home to more than 150 prayer warriors organized during the GAiN meeting in North Philippines in 2019. GAiN stands for Global Adventist Internet Network. This gathering of media enthusiasts and communication leaders from missions and conference gave birth to the Digital Evangelism Initiative (DEI) spearheaded by Pastor Sam Neves, Associate Communication Director of Adventist World Church. This pool of digital missionaries is made of prayer warriors who are praying round the clock for all the prayer requests coming from all around the world. With them are moderators answering emails, doing chat conversations, providing pastoral care, and giving Bible study with the clients. The team also includes a pool of web designers, video editors, social media managers, digital artists, and writers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
These digital missionaries were called to do a very important task and that is to pray for everyone and for anyone who reaches out to them digitally. From an initial group of 50 volunteers, the team increased to 153 and is now reaching more than 4,000 people every day.
This team praying for the world currently needs our prayers. Most of these digital missionaries come from areas greatly affected by the series of typhoons that recently hit the Philippines. Despite their difficult condition, these digital missionaries remained faithful to their commitment to pray and fulfill their Christian responsibility.
“A lot of our missionaries were affected by the typhoon, but despite the interrupted power and intermittent internet connection the volunteers remained resourceful to make sure they can perform the tasks assigned to them,” said Ace Vhirsul, DEI Team Leader.
Edward Rodriguez, SSD Communication Department
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