It seems that the central Philippines has been pummeled with more typhoons than normal for the last year or two. After our area got hit hard by Typhoon Glenda in July, we’ve also had close calls with Typhoon Ruby on Dec 7 and Typhoon/Tropical Storm Amang on Jan 17. For Ruby and Amang, PAMI people only sustained minor damage, which we’ve allotted $375 and $300 for respectively. But Ruby and Amang both hit eastern Samar a lot harder, both making landfall near the towns of Oras and Dolores. Although we don’t currently have PAMI ministries in those places, we still felt compassion for them since they’re just on the other side of the same island of where PAMI Pastor Randy Rivera ministers. In turn, we supplied Pastor Randy with 10,000 pesos (i.e. $240) to bring some aid to Oras. Pastor Randy also contacted local businesses and churches, until the amount of aid grew to 63,200 pesos (i.e. $1500), which was over six times what was started with! He used that to buy relief goods that were supplied to 52 families that needed it the most. They were each given a bag of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of rice and a bag of other goods like milk, sugar, coffee, sardines, noodles, meat loaf, sausage, soap, toothpaste, etc.
To see more pictures and info, click on “more.”
Here is what Pastor Randy wrote on Jan. 11 about his relief visit to Oras:
Our mission (PAMI) in partnership with selective local business sector in Allen, formerly our radio listeners, they share their finances to give for typhoon Ruby. We collect 38,000 pesos from them. And also from local churches in Borrongan they help us also. From them we collect 15,200. And 10,000 from PAMI U.S.A. We buy rice and we buy groceries at Robertson Department Store in Tacloban and we transport it going to Oras, Eastern Samar because it is one of the most devastated towns.
We choose only the family who are most affected in two barangays to receive 10 kilos of rice and groceries, like milk, sugar, coffee, sardines, noodles, meat loaf, sausage, soap, toothpaste, and many more…
Robertson store gave us free transportation to bring our relief goods to eastern Samar plus the plastic bag that we use for packing.
We altogether had 63,200 and used it to buy relief goods to distribute in eastern Samar. My transportation from Allen to Eastern Samar and vice versa is our contribution. I sleep in some local churches there for 2 nights.
There are a lot of barangays waiting for help in eastern Samar. They have no houses because they collapsed after the typhoon. I hope to go back again to bring more help….
I pray that we deliver again relief goods in some other town affected by typhoon Ruby.
Unfortunately, this same area was hit again by Amang about a week after Pastor Randy distributed this relief. We’re planning to designate another $240 for a second batch of relief to Eastern Samar, which hopefully will also be multiplied by local funds. This batch will be brought to Dolores rather than Oras, since they’ve experienced several deaths, having a mudslide due to continuous heavy rain.
Although there’s probably even more need there than can be covered by two batches of aid, at least we’ve done something. Since we are just a small organization and since our main focus is on evangelism rather than relief, I’m not sure about sending even more relief. We pray that other organizations would offer them help as well.
By the way, perhaps you remember how Super Typhoon Haiyan (one of the biggest typhoons on record) hit Southern Samar and Tacloban in Nov 2013, causing over 6000 deaths. During the pope’s recent visit to the Philippines, he went to Tacloban on Jan 17 to speak to some of the survivors from Typhoon Haiyan. Ironically, Amang was approaching while he was there, and he cut his speech short to head back to Manila earlier than originally planned.
Here’s additional background from a 12-20-14 PAMI prayer email:
Soon after the Dec 4th prayer notice went out, the path of Typhoon Ruby (a.k.a. Hagupit, which means whiplash in Filipino) made a little dip, and skirted just south of our PAMI ministry areas. You can see in the attached http://www.typhoon2000.com website image how the path of the typhoon amazingly hooked around our area.
Although it didn’t hit PAMI areas hard, our prayers go out to places where it did. News reports say it caused about a 10 foot storm surge and 21 deaths as it made landfall in Eastern Samar. But then it diminished in strength as it passed from east to west across the island. This was kind of close to PAMI ministry areas in San Isidro and Allen, which are located in northwest Samar. After the typhoon, Pastor Randy texted how he and his friend Mykel brought rice and food to homes of church members, but had to travel by foot rather than motorcycles due to road obstructions. Electricity for them was down for several days. Pastor Randy also mentioned that he intends to travel to farther away areas to conduct assessment and offer encouragement.
We are thankful that no PAMI people were hurt. We are also thankful that there was much less damage in our area than the typhoon in July. Emmaus Bible Institute and PAMI churches were spared any damage. But there was some damage to a few homes of PAMI church members (6 in Samar, 3 in Castilla, 2 in Irosin, and 1 in Bulusan). We decided to give these 12 families some help for repairs ($100 for one home, and $25 each for 11 homes, for a total of about $375). Praise God the amount of help needed this time is much less than the $7000+ help distributed from the July typhoon.