| Return to the January 10, 2013 issue of eNews |
A young boy kneels in front of the twisted rubble of his school.
By Nikki Massie
Warnita Pardillo and her family lost their home when Typhoon Bopha struck her community in the Philippines last month.
On the morning of December 4, Warnita Pardillo, a 47-year-old mother of three, sat with her family waiting. She had been monitoring radio broadcasts about Typhoon Bopha for days, knowing it was heading toward her town on the eastern coast of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.
As the winds grew stronger, Warnita and her husband debated whether it was safer to stay in their small wooden house or risk falling trees and electric poles to seek shelter in a neighbor’s larger concrete home.
“When I saw from a hole in my wall my neighbors crossing the street in search of a safer place,” she said, “I decided to grab my kids and run for the nearest safe place I could think of.” From secure shelter at their neighbor’s, Warnita and her husband watched as a coconut tree fell, destroying their home.
The Philippines is prone to tropical storms and typhoons and typically experiences about 20 typhoons per year. However, Typhoon Bopha was exceptionally strong and damaging with 130 mile-per-hour winds and heavy rains. Even worse, this storm struck areas still struggling to recover from 2011’s Tropical Storm Washi, which followed nearly the same path.
Typhoon Bopha has affected more than 6.2 million people. More than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead by the government and more than 800 remain missing; nearly 170,000 homes have been damaged. But with the generous support of people like you, Lutheran World Relief is there to help.
LWR staff began assessing the damage from Typhoon Bopha even before the storm had fully departed to sea. Our response will focus on three of the hardest hit provinces: Surigao del Sur, Compestela Valley and Davao Oriental.
To help families coping with this disaster, LWR will work with local partners to distribute shelter kits, help families repair their homes, and will provide cash-for-work opportunities that give people the chance to earn income now for work that helps their community recover, like debris clearing.
And through the generous donations of Lutherans in the U.S., LWR has also shipped $1 million worth of LWR Quilts, Baby Care Kits and Personal Care Kits, containing basic hygiene items, to our warehouse in the Philippines where they’ll be distributed to families in need.
Thank you for responding quickly and generously to emergencies with your gifts, especially cash gifts. They allow us to move quickly on the ground, assessing damage, reaching out to families and planning responses that get families on the path to long-term recovery.
Nikki Massie is LWR’s Staff Writer.