Residents walk along the coastal village while strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan batter Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila November 8, 2013. Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful ever to hit land battered the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee to safer ground, cutting power lines and blowing apart houses. Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon, bore down on the northern tip of Cebu Province, a popular tourist destination with the country's second-largest city, after lashing the islands of Leyte and Samar with 275 kph (170 mph) wind gusts and 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves.
November 10, 2013—In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is actively mobilizing resources to respond to this latest and largest in a series of disasters to hit the Philippines over the past twelve months.
Although an accurate casualty toll is yet to be determined, it is clear that the destruction and disruption of lives due to Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is massive. Haiyan crashed into the Philippines on Friday, November 8.
UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for International Disaster Response Rev. Jack Amick and director of the UMCOR Philippines office Ciony Eduarte worked together to develop an appropriate and strategic response. UMCOR is making plans to fill the gaps in the disaster-relief delivery network and go where the need is greatest. “Our goal,” said Eduarte “will be to reach the yet unreached with supplies that meet their basic needs.”
The initial response from UMCOR will involve the distribution of food and water purification tablets. UMCOR expects to provide relief services to at least 1,000 families. In the coming weeks, UMCOR will begin to assess the viability of longer-term rehabilitation projects.
“This was an extremely destructive storm,” noted Amick, “and UMCOR is well-positioned through its office in the Philippines to play a significant role in long-term recovery efforts."
The General Board of Global Ministries, of which UMCOR is a part, has confirmed that all of its missionaries in the Philippines are safe.
UMCOR Deputy General Secretary Rev. Denise Honeycutt spoke by telephone this morning with the three bishops of the Philippines, who are participating in the Council of Bishops meeting in Junaluska, North Carolina.
She assured the bishops of continuing prayers while resources are mobilized to assist those impacted by the storm. “UMCOR will be with you as you care for those in your country who have suffered so much,” Honeycutt told them in a written follow-up to the conversation.
You can support UMCOR’s relief and recovery work in the Philippines by contributing your donation to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. All of your gift, 100 percent, will be used to help those in need.