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In the Philippines, church members become ‘first responders’ after typhoon


Another year, another typhoon.


In the Philippines, one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations, Typhoon Hagupit, also known as Ruby, claimed 18 lives and injured more than 900 people as it swept across the islands in early December.
As the storm made landfall in the country’s Eastern Samar province, Christians who work with relief ministries waited anxiously for damage reports — ready to serve.
“Two days before the typhoon, we purchased food and packed it to be ready to hand out after the storm,” said Mike Baumgartner, director of Disaster Assistance CoC. “That worked really well because we were ready as first responders.”
The islands are home to an estimated 1,000 Churches of Christ, and church-supported ministries that serve after disasters have become adept at responding to typhoons, earthquakes and floods.
Across the Philippines, Christians and their neighbors continue to recover from Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, which devastated the islands in November 2013. That storm claimed more than 3,600 lives and injured 12,000 people. Though Ruby was predicted to take a similar path to Yolanda, the storm veered north and caused little additional damage to areas impacted by Yolanda.
Edwin Inso, a Filipino minister, distributes aid for Disaster Assistance CoC, which is working  with six Churches of Christ in the Philippines and has a Bible study center — currently serving as housing for those who have lost homes, Inso said. 
Other church-supported ministries, including MARCH for Christ, a Filipino-led medical and relief ministry, also are providing aid.
Many church members in Eastern Samar lost their homes, Inso said, and many are hungry.
“Please continue praying for the relief efforts,” Inso said. “Right now we are only in phase one. Phase two will include building houses.”

Filed under: International News

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