(Photos courtesy AMG International)
Philippines (AMG/MNN) ¯ Typhoon Tembin triggered deadly landslides and flash floods yesterday, just weeks after a series of deadly storms and monsoon rains swept through the northern Philippines.
U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. just issued a disaster declaration, and the United States pledged $100,000 for disaster relief efforts.
The high water brought parts of the Philippine capital, Manila, to a stand-still. Schools and offices, many of which were flooded, remained closed. AMG Philippines executive director Hector Arana says the past few days have been a challenge for their team.
In his most recent report, he noted that "many parts of Metro Manila and the provinces are swamped because of two weeks of continuous torrential rains. In the past three days, there has been over 30 inches of rainfall." News reports indicated that about 80% of Metro Manila was underwater. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that a total of 454,093 families, or nearly two million people, in Metro Manila and the five other regions are affected by floods caused by the monsoon rains.
AMG Philippines has 18 centers in Metro Manila. Arana notes that 11 of them have been affected by the floods, and four centers are under water. He writes, "We have distributed relief goods and items to about 830 sponsored families that could last for the next 2 days. Many from the communities are asking for help as government and other NGO's relief assistance is not enough because of the huge number of victims."
The monsoons and typhoons are an annual thing, as are the high waters. Overcrowding in the urban centers means that more people are affected by the floods, too. Arana explains, "The 1.4 million squatter families--or about 5 million people residing in Metro Manila--are always suffering because most of them live in identified dangerous areas."
Arana goes on to explain that the problem will recur unless the government responds. "We, as a Christian Organization, or NGO's who are working toward development are often tempted to say things happen year by year, and we see no solutions until the government is very serious to move these families to safer and developed relocation sites. (There is a case now where about 20 of our families were relocated to Kasiglahan, Rodriguez, Rizal, and last Tuesday many of them were on the TV on their rooftop because their houses were flooded)."
In answer to the questions: "Is there still a point to do flood relief? Are we just throwing money, time & strength?" Arana says, "The Bible clearly states that 'you were not redeemed with perishable thing like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood as a lamb unblemished and spotless by the blood of Christ' (1Pet. 1:18-19). 'You are a chosen race, royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession' (1 Peter 2:9). The difference with us Christians is that we base our activities and resources on what God wants us to do. 1 Cor. 15:58 says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil in not in vain in the Lord'."
However, that means that the AMG Philippines relief coffers are empty. They want to provide flood relief to help 5,500 families within communities where the AMG centers are located. Distribution would be in partnership with their Child Development Centers & Churches and existing local governments and NGO's in the area.
Their mission is clear: through each contact, they are meeting the physical needs, but also giving each person at least one opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel.
Please pray for the people of the Philippines and the AMG co-workers there. They want to be ready to assist the survivors as soon as possible.
Source: Mission Network News