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New flooding worsens Philippines crisis

MANILA, Philippines (BP) — The plight of people who survived a Dec. 17 typhoon in the Philippines has been worsened in 14 provinces by heavy rains that have caused new flooding. Southern Baptists are helping to provide assistance in the aftermath of the storm, which killed about 1,250 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

“The tragic events of the recent storms and flash floods in the wake of Tropical Storm Washi continue to unfold,” said Pat Melancon, managing director of disaster response and training for Baptist Global Response. “More than 12,000 homes were destroyed. People are seeking refuge with families, churches, and in evacuation centers.”

The new floods affected 14 provinces in the country’s east coast and southern region, according to news reports. Relief and rescue operations were being stretched by the fresh floods as soldiers, police officers and volunteers were dispatched to help more than 53,000 new victims, Benito Ramos, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, told the McClatchy-Tribune news service.

Baptist Global Response initiated a rapid response with local partners shortly after the storm, Melancon said.

“In cooperation with local churches and other groups, food, water, and other temporary relief has been distributed to the stricken areas,” Melancon said. “Local situations have been assessed and a broader on-the-ground assessment of longer-term relief needs continues.”

Reports of more than 1,000 unaccounted-for victims continue to circulate but only 84 have been verified, government officials said. While tropical storms occur regularly in the Philippines, the devastation caused by Washi was worsened because it struck the southern part of the country, where such storms are not as frequent and people are not as prepared to deal with them.
Reported by Baptist Global Response, on the Internet at www.gobgr.org.

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