Typhoon Haiyan, with sustained winds toping 195 mph, was reported as the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall. The typhoon left a trail of catastrophic damage across five major points of land fall. The eastern most points of landfall, including Tacloban city, were all but wiped out by a 4 meter high storm surge. According to United Nations data, over 5,500 fatalities have already been confirmed and many remain missing. Over 500,000 homes were destroyed completely and another 500,000 homes were damaged, leaving 3.62 million people displaced and 14.4 million people affected by the storm. Typhoon Haiyan was the single most deadly and destructive storm to ever hit the Philippine nation and it hit some of the poorest regions in the country where malnutrition rates reach as high as 45%.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) responded to the Haiyan disaster in the first few days following the typhoon by dispatching a regional disaster response technician, Eddy Ruble to the Philippines. Eddy worked with and supported the efforts of Asia Pacific Baptist Aid (APBAid), a regional partner which has a sub-office in Iloilo City, Panay Island, one of the major points of landfall for Haiyan. APBAid is a regional partnering body of Baptist World Aid, an alliance of Baptists bodies from around the world. On the Panay and Negros islands, the Philippines Convention of Baptist Churches (CPBC) had over 130 churches damaged or destroyed and almost 5,000 church members affected. CBF is working in partnership with CPBC’s Development Ministries department to provide aid to survivors in the communities of their affected churches. The immediate needs of food and water were provided in the first days and weeks after the typhoon. With an additional $20,000 relief grant, CBF will provide tarps and carpentry tools to survivors so they can build temporary shelters. Food and clean drinking water continue to be primary needs, but shelter from continued monsoon rains is also an extremely urgent priority.
CBF continues to coordinate with regional Baptist organizations and international donors to aid and assist the Filipino Baptist partners to empower them to respond effectively. Plans are underway to hold a roundtable coordination meeting December 12-13th with the leaders of the four Filipino Baptist conventions. The size and scale of this disaster is beyond the capacity of any organization or government to handle, but efforts are being made to work systematically through our Filipino Baptist partners to integrate a long range transformational development approach which will have the greatest possible impact for affected communities with the resources available.
by Eddy Ruble, CBF Field Personnel, December 4, 2013
The post was originally featured on the CBF Disaster Response Mission Community Website. Visit the site to keep up-to-date with CBF Disaster Response efforts.