MANILA, Philippines (BP)–Southern Baptist workers are responding to the human suffering caused by Typhoon Durian, which tore through the Philippines Nov. 30.
Relief workers are supplying victims with drinking water, food and tarps for shelter as rescuers continue to search affected areas for the dead. The typhoon struck southeast of Manila, the nation’s capital, with 165 mph winds and heavy rains, causing deadly mudslides. The official death toll stands at approximately 400. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless.
“No one knows [how many have died],” one Christian worker reported. “Many were washed into the ocean with no trace. The rest were covered by mudslides.”
Survivors are crammed into makeshift shelters in schools and churches. “Many lost not only their homes but also their livelihoods after fruit trees and rice paddies were destroyed,” the worker said.
Another worker asked for prayer as Christians continue to travel throughout the area assessing damage and providing relief: “Pray as they … travel through a bad stretch of road that was covered with chest-high mud with only a one-lane ditch cleared for vehicles.”
Relief workers also are assisting area churches as they assess the spiritual needs of the people. They ask Southern Baptists to pray for the Filipino people, many of whom live where there is little access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“It is one of the most unreached areas in the Philippines — perhaps 1 to 1.5 percent born-again,” a worker said of the area most affected by the damage.
Typhoon Durian is the fourth major storm to batter the Philippines since late September.
International Mission Board personnel in the region are reported safe.
For those interested in more information about relief efforts, call the International Mission Board at 1-800-999-3113.