MRDF supporters have generously donated over £90,000 to the relief effort so far. Funds have already been sent to our partner the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
Earlier this week UMCOR volunteers in Manila worked hard to create bright yellow family survival packs from locally procured food. The packs were then loaded onto a cargo lorry to undergo a 26-hour trek to typhoon-stricken communities in the central Philippines.
Along the way, the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan became increasingly apparent. Everywhere, hand-lettered signs revealed story of destruction, need, and hope: ‘No Food & Water’; ‘Merry Xmas Go Leyte Survive’; ‘Dead Bodies for Pick Up’; and ‘Stand Up People of Tacloban.’
Determined to deliver the still-desperately-needed food supplies before Tacloban’s 6pm curfew, UMCOR staff quickly met with local officials and personnel from the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) to learn which communities were in greatest need. The convoy then made its way to Baranggay (or neighborhood) Naganaga, where food assistance had only begun to trickle in the day before, ten days after the typhoon.
Baranggay Chairman Nikki Leaño, a locally elected leader of this neighbourhood, said it was coastal communities like this one in Tacloban that were most affected by the category five typhoon. ‘When the storm surge rose up, we were a spillway, and the water poured through our streets’ he said.
Local resident Maria Theresa Peñafiel, 45, called the storm ‘horrifying.’ She said that although her home is old, she was trying to make some last-minute repairs to protect it from the storm. When the typhoon hit, she said no one expected what she called a ‘tidal wave.’ She was referring to the surge that, along with phenomenally high winds, knocked down power lines, crumpled red steel roofs, and picked up and tossed boats, cars, and even a bus from one place to another.
Maria Theresa climbed onto the roof of her home with her children and three grandchildren. She said the adults hung onto the roof with one hand and to a child with the other for at least an hour. ‘We wanted to survive,’ she said.
Many days later, she said, she still does not sleep well. She has returned to her damaged home, set up tarpaulins, and now lives in the more-or-less habitable parts. She says she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the assistance UMCOR brought. ‘We’re very glad you came,’ she said. ‘This will be a very big help.’
Maurice Adams, Chief Executive of MRDF said: ‘Six thousand miles away there are men, women and children struggling to survive following Typhoon Haiyan. What could we do at such a distance? Methodists in Britain have once again responded with compassion and generosity through prayerful and financial support. Many have trusted MRDF to channel funds to our partners who are targeting the yet unreached with supplies to meet their basic needs. We are doing all we can. Thank you for doing all you can.’
All week UMCOR have been carrying out similar distributions to small and vulnerable communities that have received little attention so far. Each family survival pack costs £31 to produce but will provide a family of five in the affected area with emergency food for around five days. Help our partners continue to provide food, water, medicines, sanitation, hygiene kits and shelter to those who have lost homes and livelihoods in the storm.
Your donation will help people suffering in the Philippines
Taxpayers are encouraged to gift aid their donations where possible, adding 25p to every pound they give, at no extra personal cost.
If you would prefer to donate by telephone using a credit or debit card, call 020 7467 5132. To donate by post, send a cheque made payable to ‘MRDF’ to MRDF, 25 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5JR, stating your gift is for the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.