In case you've been shut up in your house with internet or television the past few days, one of the most dangerous, powerful hurricanes in recorded history swept across the Philippines last week. Typhoon Haiyan (typhoon = cyclone = hurricane depending on where you are in the world) has destroyed thousands of homes, displaced hundreds of thousands, affected millions of Filipinos, and caused destruction rivaling that of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. In one city alone, Tacloban City, 10,000 people are estimated to have died during the storm.
Through his work at Samaritan's Purse, Andrew received training in disaster and relief response last year during our trip to the Philippines. Ironically enough, that is also where he is responding to his first disaster. He is the lead water and sanitation expert on the ground with Samaritan's Purse.
Reading the news stories and seeing the photos online of the devastation is almost beyond belief - thousands of people with no water, no food, no electricity, and no way in or out of cities littered with debris, crumpled vehicles, and rotting corpses.
I am beyond thankful that Samaritan's Purse is working to help the Filipinos, and proud that my husband gets to participate in the work. This afternoon, he and his team members flew from Manila, the capital, to Cebu, a large city on an island next to the worst ones. The SP team is planning to set up base in that city and focus their relief efforts in the surrounding areas, possibly even traveling by boat to the other islands, as the airports are so badly damaged they are accepting only military flights.
Please pray for Andrew, his team, and the Philippines at this time - for safety, wisdom, physical and emotional energy, and clear ways to provide what is most needed in the worst areas.
I will try to post updates every few days as Andrew has time to send me information. Samaritan's Purse is sending more people to help with the efforts, as well as relief supplies and equipment. We are so fortunate that Samaritan's Purse has many strong church partners in the area who are helping the team assess the damage and provide critical aid. It would be impossible to work well without the help of the national leaders.
If you want to support Samaritan's Purse's relief efforts, check out their website for more information!