Bringing comfort to typhoon survivors in Philippines

When the United Methodist Committee on Relief delivered food packages Nov. 20 to six storm-ravaged communities in Dagami, the Philippines, it was the first substantial emergency relief aid there since Typhoon Haiyan struck nearly two weeks earlier.

Linda Unger, a senior writer for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and Mike DuBose, a photographer for United Methodist Communications, were there to tell the story.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Lucia Millona, a small, slight woman who is the only support for her small child. “Our house was destroyed and we have no clothes,” she said. “This is the first help we’ve received.”

Although Dagami, about 20 miles from Tacloban, turns away from the coast, residents still suffered typhoon winds and flooding from overflowing rivers that destroyed crops, homes, businesses and livelihoods.

Read the full story about food distribution in Dagami.

This was UMCOR’s second food distribution in two days, part of a truckload of 1,500 food packages that UMCOR staff and volunteers assembled in Manila, the capital, and drove over the course of 36 hours to Haiyan-impacted communities in Leyte Province.

The first was to residents of Barangay Naganaga, a struggling and impoverished community in Tacloban, one of the areas hardest hit by the Nov. 8 typhoon, known locally as Yolanda.

Ciony Ayo-Eduarte, head of mission of UMCOR Philippines, and the Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR ‘s executive for international disaster response, led the convoy to Naganaga, where food assistance had only begun to trickle in the day before, 10 days after the typhoon.

“We thought it was the end of the world,” said Erlinda Andal, 30, as she waited for a food package. She, her husband, and their four children ages 7, 8, 9, and 12, had climbed to the roof of their modest home for safety as the storm surge rose. “The water kept going up and up,” she said. “It was up to our chests.”

Andal, a manicurist, said she and her husband, a carpenter, were thankful for the assistance. “It will be a very big help for our family,” she said.

Read more about the Nagnanaga distribution and the UMCOR relief team.

Through its presence and prayers, the United Methodist team tried to respond to the hurt as well as the hunger.

When Edita Tante picked up the bright yellow bag that contained enough rice, oil, beans, coffee, and other staples to last her family about a week, an UMCOR volunteer, Archelaus Joseph Laudes, offered to carry it for her back to her shanty.

It was only on arriving there that Edita Tante, who survived the storm with her husband, Margarito, tearfully revealed that four of their grandchildren had not. Laudes, a student pastor who is finishing his studies at Union Theological Seminary in Cavite, listened to Tante’s story and offered a prayer of strength and hope.

Read more about the Tantes and their struggle to survive the typhoon.

Many volunteers, mainly Filipino university and seminary students, spent two days making food packages filled with rice, oil, salt, brown sugar, mongo beans (a versatile lentil), sardines, cooking oil, and coffee for the typhoon survivors.

“Thanks to the generous outpouring of United Methodists, this is just the first of several shipments UMCOR anticipates making to assist the survivors,” Amick said.

“Rebuilding will take years,” he  said. “We will move forward with the Filipino people, counting on God’s grace and the support of United Methodists and people of goodwill everywhere.”

Read how UMCOR truck got ready to roll.

More coverage on the United Methodist response to Typhoon Haiyan.

Support UMCOR’s relief and recovery work in the Philippines by contributing to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

Mission and Ministry
The sanctuary of Lynn Haven United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla., stands open to the sky following Hurricane Michael in October 2018. A grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief to the Alabama-West Florida Conference for hurricane recovery is among $27.6 million approved by the relief agency for disaster response, sustainable development, global migration and Global Health support. File photo courtesy of Lynn Haven United Methodist Church.

UMCOR assists with 2018 hurricane recovery

Grants for two big U.S. programs are part of $27.6 million approved by relief agency for disaster response, sustainable development, global migration and Global Health support.
Social Concerns
Tendai Musandaka, 20, holds a box of chicks that she and other women and girls will raise to generate income in Marange, Zimbabwe, which has been affected by drought. The farming program is led by The United Methodist Church’s Ministry with Women, Youth and Children and funded by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS.

Zimbabwe farming project empowers women, girls

UMCOR-funded program provides chicks to help women and girls generate income in an area struggling with drought, dying crops.
Disaster Relief
Cyclone Idai survivor Geshem Makufa, 55, is being treated at United Methodist Mutambara Mission Hospital in the Chimanimani District of Eastern Zimbabwe. He is pictured with his wife, Tandiwe Makufa. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UMNS.

Church embraces cyclone survivors in Zimbabwe

United Methodist offer physical and emotional support as relief efforts continue in hard-hit areas.