The aftermath of the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has brought much damage to Christians living in Leyte, Philippines. Houses and other infrastructures were ripped off. Power & communication lines were down.
With such magnitude of damage suffered by the churches in these areas & with our position to help, the Sovereign Grace Bible Church here in Cebu (SGBC), responded a relief effort for the affected brethren. But to better serve the situation, two men: pastors Paul (SGBC) and Dominic (Ozamiz Reformed Baptist Church, bit.ly/1bgje6h) left for the island of Leyte to assess and determine first how best we can help. Riding a motorbike, they made personal visits on churches known to us in every affected place. They have identified ten drop-off points for the relief goods. With scarce & expensive fuel, and a busy port, it was decided to use a truck from Cebu instead for the delivery afterwards. Aside from food and potable water, those affected also need a crow bar and similar tools. A church in Abuyog have pleaded for rice. While some have enough money, yet there is nothing they can buy. Others complained that most evangelical christians were being marginalized in the rationing by other groups. News about lawlessness (eg. looting) in the neighboring Tacloban City, Samar has been reported. Hunger and desperation become common.
Back in Cebu, volunteer-church-members and friends did much what they can contribute for the help. Some former members - who are now in the U.S. - channeled the contributions coursed thru them by their friends. Other christians & churches from Manila & overseas also send in their monetary help. As money becomes available, purchases were then made. Thus far, the items prepared were as follows:
Two (2) teams were formed. The distribution team docks in Hilongos town, while the medical team in Ormoc City. Ophelia (SGBC), a physician takes charge for the medical mission, and pastor Paul oversees the distribution work. Medicines were not packed for distribution but were only given to those who really need. The rest of the supplies were pre-packed according to its intended recipients. Food sustenance could last for about two weeks. These packed supplies for distribution were loaded into a hired delivery van, and was ferried from Cebu City to Hilongos town, Leyte. Upon docking to the pier, it went on to travel by land heading north, dropping supplies as it goes. Spanning a total distance of about 300 kilometers (186 miles), the distribution team must finish their work in a single day, or will incur additional logistical cost. The areas routed were as follows:
After spending some 15 hours of travel, the distribution team finally ends in Ormoc City for their return back to Cebu City by sea. Pastor Paul however, stayed with the medical team. The medical team originally made their base in Ormoc City, and covered areas of the northern part until the third day. Most treatments were of hypertension, diarrhea & wounds. The Red Cross also helped by lending out their chiller without hesitation.
It took six days for a group of men to visit each damaged houses & church buildings, and to come up with the list of materials needed for the reconstruction. Priority is given to places of worship, particularly for those having no other source of funds.
A suggested house model has been prepared should a house to rebuilt is found to be totally wreaked. Those that were partly damaged will be assessed according to basic essentials. Most of the households need is for roofing.
So far, there were 9 churches and 45 houses that were given building materials. Two chainsaw units and a small one, were assigned from one church to another. This help clear fallen coco trees and utilize the same for lumber. Different church members took part in helping each other build their houses.
A second round for medical mission is now in place. With still available funds, a livelihood program has been considered.