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News : Philippines

Building without walls

Building without walls – 7 May 2014

Pastor Ate Ching’s church was at the centre of relief efforts in Eastern Samar when Typhoon Haiyan tore through her community – one of the poorest in the Philippines. Supported by Tearfund, her congregation took charge of distributing food, tarpaulins, sheets, pans and mosquito nets and volunteers were trained to provide activities and support for children.

The last few months have taken their toll on Pastor Ate Ching (pictured above). She worked hard and wanted to be strong for her church. ‘I could not cry, that would only make people more anxious.’ She’s been ill recently and realises she too is processing trauma.

But she is determined to continue her ministry as before. As with her old church, the new building will not have walls. She wants passers-by to be able to see what’s going on, hear the worship and engage. She wants God to be seen and heard – not just in the community, but on a Sunday too.

Giving children of the Philippines the routine of going to school

Giving children of the Philippines the routine of going to school – 6 Dec 2013

Girly Malitante is a primary school teacher in Marabut. ‘My school is damaged from the typhoon, but we need shelter for the children to have classes. The chairs and books, pencils and pens and blackboards are all damaged.’

Giving children the routine of going to school helps recreate a sense of normality for them. While adults begin the work of rebuilding their homes and their lives, Tearfund partners are working to create safe spaces for children.

There’s a lot to do, as Girly points out. ‘We received some food and clothing from the Department of Education, and the government has said they will repair our school, but not until January. There are computers floating in the floods, and we have to boil water to drink. But we have a lot of firewood!’ she says, pointing to the rubble.

As the shock of Typhoon Haiyan wears off, and evidence of trauma is settling in, our partners are training community volunteers from local churches in Northern Samar on trauma recovery for children.

Layo Mateo, a fisherman in Basey is concerned for the wellbeing of his children. ‘Sometimes my children still get scared. Now, even the level one typhoon warnings scare us.’

It might take time to rebuild schools. Nevertheless our partners are creating places for children where they can play, make things, and express their emotions with on-site care providers. Through our work in Samar, we’re making sure that children suffering acute trauma can be treated by Filipino psychologists to receive the level of care that they need.

Tearfund partners are working for long-term recovery in the Philippines.




It rains every day in Dulag, but there’s little shelter for the 9,000 families who live there. Just 30km south of Tacloban, almost all of the homes in the area were destroyed as they stood directly in the path of Typhoon Haiyan.

Shelter is the top priority in Dulag. Families whose homes have been destroyed urgently need protection from the elements.
Almost overlooked by the tremendous need in Tacloban, there was little support for those in nearby Dulag.

But Tearfund partners have quickly identified the need to bring help to the region. The team are already on the ground giving out 5,000 shelter kits to families in the area.

Guido Krauss is a shelter advisor. ‘We’ve talked to a lot of families, local authorities, and engineers, and everybody agrees that the main needs at the moment are food and shelter.’

As well as shelter kits, the team are giving people equipment to help them clear away debris from their ruined homes. In the long-term, our partners will train families to rebuild their homes in a way that makes them more resilient to disasters like cyclones.

Working with local officials is helping the team to target their response, Guido explains: ‘We don’t need a separate relief system. The destruction is so huge that it will be very difficult for the government and the Filipino people to recover from this solely on their own capacity. The best way we can help is to be supportive and to collaborate with communities.’

Tearfund partners are working for long-term recovery in the Philippines.




Tearfund partners, including local churches, have helped people to evacuate their homes and villages in time to avoid the worst of the typhoon, which is one of the biggest in recorded history. But despite the best efforts of emergency services and humanitarian agencies, many thousands of lives have been lost and homes have been washed away.
It has been difficult to confirm all the details because of power cuts and difficulties in reaching our colleagues but we know that landslides, flooding and high winds have wiped out homes, businesses and farms.

Our partners are in the evacuation centres, giving care to survivors who need food, water, shelter and help to find their loved ones.

Rescue operations and food distributions have started to reach people but there are still areas of the islands where people have not yet been traced.

Pastors, church workers and volunteers are travelling by motorbike to some of the more remote areas over the next few days to find survivors and offer help. Despite difficult conditions, they will travel long distances for three days at a time to reach villages where they expect to find high death counts and many grieving people.

Tearfund calls for prayer for the survivors, who will need assistance for many months to come.

As well as the urgent and practical things like helping people have a roof over their heads, we know that there will be a lot of grief as people come to terms with bereavement. We must pray for the thousands of people who are grieving and ask God how he wants each of us to respond to their needs.

Please also pray for the churches who are sending teams out, many of whom will travel long distances by motorbike, that their teams would stay safe and well on their travels and that they would be able to bring hope to the people they meet.

Corrie de Boer from Mission Ministries in the Philippines visited our Tearfund office in October. Tearfund Ireland’s International Programme’s Manager, Markus Koker gave her a copy of the Tearfund resource booklet – Disaster and the Local Church. Corrie found it very useful, as the Philippines face about 6 typhoons every year.

Pray for the people of the Philippines

If you can, please donate to help us support those in emergency.

Hope – churches respond to Asia disasters

Hope – churches respond to Asia disasters – 16 Oct 2009

The images of stranded families and flood-stricken streets in the Philippines shown on BBC were terrible, but as I watched this scene I was filled with great hope. Local volunteers from churches were handing out emergency food and water and a tired looking pastor smiled as he said ‘we are showing compassion like Jesus did.’ Jesus says to us to have peace, as the Father sent Him, he also sends us (John 20:21). This is the church in action.

Muh Nasir grabbed his daughter and ran as the first earthquake tremors hit his house in Indonesia.

As the first tremors shuddered the building, the father-of-five quickly gathered up his four-year-old daughter Ifah and took her into the garden. Panic-stricken, he realised another daughter, eight year-old Mia, was missing and screamed for her to get out of the house.

Flattened image

Just as she emerged into the safety of the outdoors, the property collapsed: ‘Everything happened so fast and suddenly,’ recalls Muh Nasir. Thankfully his wife and other children, who were elsewhere in the village of Cubadak Palak, were also safe. But ten others in the area didn’t survive as some 970 homes were flattened. While Muh Nasir and his family escaped with their lives, the quality of those lives has been shattered. I have to earn money over the next 20 years to build my house from the beginning and it will be hard for me especially in this economic crisis.’

Food Aid

Tearfund partner Kotib is helping keep the family going, providing material help and encouragement. ‘Thanks to Kotib, we’ve got 10 kilos of rice, 40 packs of noodles and 24 litres of mineral water, so at least we can still eat and drink for the next few days,’ says Muh Nasir. But the family still needs new clothes, blankets and mattresses and they are not alone. Across West Sumatra, more than 1,000 died and about 100,000 homes were destroyed, with another 100,000 damaged. Tearfund is supporting Kotib as it provides emergency aid and runs food kitchens and first aid centres in villages outside Padang.

You can help support our continuing relief efforts by giving to our Emergency Fund .

Asia Disaster Response

Asia Disaster Response – 7 Oct 2009

Millions of people across South East Asia are struggling to cope after a series of natural disasters struck the region. The Indonesian island of Sumatra has been hit by a major earthquake killing at least 1,100 people. The Philippines is reeling after a typhoon caused massive flooding that has made more than a million people homeless and claimed hundreds of lives. Tearfund is working with partners and local churches to respond to the disasters.

It has been a week of horrific disasters in South East Asia and our resources are being stretched to the limit. We are calling Christians and churches to prayer for all the people facing loss and trauma following these calamitous events.

A few days ago in the South Pacific, Samoa and Tonga were flattened by a tsunami triggered from an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, which has left some 130 people dead. The following day, another earthquake hit the Indonesian city of Padang on Sumatra’s west coast. More than a thousand people have been killed and, with rescuers searching the rubble for thousands still missing, the death toll is likely to be far greater. Aftershocks and the fear of tsunamis is compounding the trauma as the region vividly recalls the disaster of December 2004. See BBC video footage here

A week before Typhoon Ketsana ripped though Luzon, the northern island of The Philippines, leaving – in Metro Manila alone – well over a million people in need of rescue, relief or support. News and film reports showed people wading waist deep through even the main highways that connect the sprawling cities. Other images showed furniture suspended in overhead cables. The poorest people in the slum areas have been acutely hit, with their fragile homes and their possessions washed away in the flood water. Mudslides in rural provinces have brought further loss of life and logistic chaos. A second storm, being forecast as a ‘super typhoon’ is expected to hit the Philippines this weekend.

‘The needs are enormous and after the initial loss there comes the sense of devastation and shock. People – many of whom are already desperately poor – are left with nothing,’ says Reuben Coulter, Tearfund Ireland Chief Executive. ‘Homes and livelihoods are destroyed; loved ones are lost or missing – the disorientation and trauma is unimaginable. The relief effort is being built up daily. Our partner relief teams in Sumatra and in Metro Manila are assessing the need and responding, but we can also surround the crises and the families affected in prayer.’

Immediate needs to that Tearfund partner’s are supplying are:
• access to clean water
• food aid and basic items
• shelter provision
• medical supplies and counselling support for the grieving and distressed

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