Chaplains Minister in Philippines Where Suffering Remains After Typhoon

By Kristy Etheridge   •   October 15, 2014


It’s been just under a year since Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, ravaged the island nation, leaving 6,200 bodies and a long list of sick, injured and missing in its wake.

These past 11 months, while the news cycle has turned from Ukraine to the winter Olympics to terrorism in the Middle East, millions of Filipinos have simply been putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, in their still-devastated country.

In June, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains Carolin and Desi Perez left the comforts of their house in Oklahoma to begin a five-month deployment to the Philippines. At that time, seven months had passed since the Nov. 8 typhoon made landfall, with sustained winds of 195 mph. (By comparison, Hurricane Katrina’s sustained wind speed topped out at 125 mph when it slammed into Louisiana.)

“When you land at the airport, driving along the coastal area, there’s devastation all around you,” Carolin said. “Boats up on the roads. Ships, huge ships, that haven’t been moved yet. People living in aluminum framed shacks. It just looks like a bomb went off.”

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Even now, four months into their deployment, Carolin and Desi still see upheaval. Many people don’t have running water. Food and adequate shelter are also lacking.

“There are still a lot of people with no roof on their house,” Carolin said. “A lot of houses have temporary tarps that Samaritan’s Purse provided.”

“You’ll see little girls and boys bathing in a mud puddle,” Desi added “And in the States, sometimes we’re complaining that our shower is too small. I don’t have this, I don’t have that.”

At the invitation of local churches, the two crisis-trained chaplains have been traveling to cities and villages, helping overwhelmed pastors however they can. Earlier this week, Carolin and Desi held their fourth Grief in Crisis training in the city of Ormoc, Leyte Province, which was flattened during the typhoon. They worked with 42 pastors hoping to learn about how to best serve the hurting people of their community.

Boats and even massive ships like this one have yet to be removed nearly a year after the typhoon hit.
“Our goal has been to come alongside the pastors and provide them with encouragement and to be able to tell them that they’re not alone,” Carolin said. “It’s been amazing to see how much it’s meant to them, just to know that someone cares.”

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team—which has deployed to more than 220 disasters since 2002—arrived in the Philippines in May. Chaplains Barb and Leo Grabowski from Charlotte, North Carolina spent two months sharing the hope of Christ with pastors and other residents before Carolin and Desi took over. Altogether, the chaplains have prayed with 1,275 people in the country.

They’ve rejoiced over miracles—like the way God protected a group of six people, including a pregnant woman, who survived the flooding by clinging to a floating wooden door.

And they’ve cried over devastating sorrow—weeping with a young pastor who lost his wife and both of his young daughters to the powerful storm. Even after an unimaginable loss, he’s still praising God.

Church members stand next to “the miracle door” that allowed six people to survive the flood. It’s now the front door of their church.
“Our brothers and sisters here in the Philippines are people of great faith,” Carolin said. “They really depend upon God as their resource for everything, and they pray believing that God hears their prayers and is going to answer their prayers.”

Desi and Carolin know God answered in the affirmative when a Filipino pastor repeatedly prayed for her nephew to accept Jesus as his Savior. After losing his wife and son in a motorcycle accident and then living through the typhoon, he was going down the wrong path—using drugs and getting in with the wrong crowd, despite having a young daughter.

At the request of the man’s aunt and other relatives, the chaplains paid him a visit.

“Desi and I shared the Gospel with him,” Carolin said. “And he accepted Christ on the spot.”

Despite having two pastors in the family, his relatives laughed and praised God for sending a couple from the other side of the world to lead him to the Lord.

“He’s now serving in the church, returning to school and he’s working to turn his life around,” Carolin said.

Carolin and Desi have organized youth events for Filipino children. They’ve found that many of the kids enjoy playing Bingo! and checkers.
And that’s just one of many answered prayers—a snapshot of God’s goodness in the midst of crisis.

As they prepare to return to Oklahoma next month, Carolin and Desi hope believers in the U.S. and around the world will not forget to support the Filipino people. They’re excited about the Will Graham Celebration scheduled to take place in Tacloban next March, and they’re praying for God to continue to move powerfully across the Philippines.

“It’s so important that we keep praying for our brothers and sisters here,” Carolin said. “People are seeking answers, seeking a hope. As a result of the magnitude of Yolanda, we believe that a revival is happening here.

“This is the time for the Philippines.”

A family day trip and three beneficiaries

Originally posted on Helping hands for Tacloban:

I’m almost at the end of the stories of beneficiaries we helped in August.

At the point where I had allocated almost all of the donations, we had a family trip to Belen Farm – a place a good two hour drive away that is well known to Jackie’s family – they used to spend their holidays there as children.  I hired a van and Jackie’s mum, most of Jackie’s siblings, their partners and a niece all piled in for the road trip!

A local gasoline store!

A local gasoline store!

The area we went to was as different to Tacloban as you can get – it seemed sparsely populated and very green.  The area was not affected by the storm surge as it is so far away, but buildings were decimated by the winds.

The temporary classrooms.  This one held a class of 52 children

The temporary classrooms in the local school. This one held a class of 52 children

This included the house…

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[Press release] Yolanda-hit villages declared as first ‘Zero Open Defecation’ barangays in Leyte -Save the Children

Originally posted on Human Rights Online Philippines:

Yolanda-hit villages declared as first ‘Zero Open Defecation’ barangays in Leyte

Western Leyte, Philippines (27 September 2014) – Today 7 Yolanda-hit barangays across 3 municipalities around Ormoc have been declared as first in the entire Leyte province to eradicate defecation in public– a practice known to cause contamination of water sources and diarrheal diseases.


The declaration came after an authorized government body, including hygiene specialists and international organizations, certified the remote barangays of Bulak, Masaba, and San Dionesio in Matag-ob town; Payao in Villaba town; and San Ignacio, Santa Domingo and Libertad in Kananga town as the first Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) barangays in the province of Leyte. To achieve ZOD status, each household in a barangay should have access to toilet and water supply. The recognition was a big feat given that 70% of people in these communities did not have access to toilets immediately after the super typhoon.

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Aftermath of Yolanda in Carles

Originally posted on marydandle:

It has almost been a year since Typhoon Yolanda ravaged Carles. Now, let us see how it rose from the damages it received.

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Who Cares About Climate Justice?

Originally posted on Who Cares?:

Who Cares Movement joins the Climate Walk for Climate Justice.

climate walk cover image

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Typhoon Haiyan – timeline of event

Originally posted on cedimfda:

6m_Windgeschwindigkeit6n_Windgeschwindigkeit6o_Windgeschwindigkeit6p_Windgeschwindigkeit6q_WindgeschwindigkeitTimeline of the event. Colours indicate average wind speed (GFS forecast).

@ Bernhard Mühr, KIT

Rechte für Google?

Ungleiche Kartenausschnitte

Landmassen kaum sichtbar

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Typhoon Haiyan – Reaction on Twitter

Originally posted on cedimfda:

Social networking services like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter allow easy and rapid sharing of information, feelings and observations. During natural disasters, these data can be used to obtain insight into the mood of the population and the extent of damage from the perspective of eye-witnesses.

Method & Data
To get rapid information on what eye-witnesses report from the affected area, we analyze twitter messages related to the typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda which hit the Philippines at Nov. 7, 20:40 UTC. We extract twitter messages, so called tweets, containing one or more specified keywords from the field of “cyclonic storms” and use them for further analysis shown below. For the time frame of Nov. 4 to Nov. 12 we get a database of 36751 localized tweets of which 5159 are located in our area of interest (Philippines). About 939 to 1602 of these tweets have photos attached.

When do people twitter?
As storms…

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Typhoon Haiyan – FDA Report #2

Originally posted on cedimfda:

Compiled results in CEDIM FDA report #2:


@ James Daniell, Bernhard Mühr, Trevor Girard, Andre Dittrich, Chirstian Lucas, Tina Kunz-Plapp (all KIT), Joachim Fohringer (GFZ)

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Ground-Breaking Projects For ShelterBox In The Philippines

Originally posted on ShelterBox Australia's Blog:

Christine Mae Ofiasa and her (then) fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, were among some of the early recipients of a ShelterBox aid after Haiyan first struck, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

Christine Mae Ofiasa and her (then) fourteen-day old baby, Rona Mae, were among some of the early recipients of a ShelterBox aid after Haiyan first struck, Bantayan, Philippines, December 2013.

ShelterBox continues to develop new shelter solutions to meet the needs of communities affected by disasters 

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, was the most powerful storm ever to make landfall, claiming 6,200 lives and destroying a million homes. In the five months following the disaster, more than 100 ShelterBox Response Team members delivered 7,000 tents, 10,000 solar lights, 870 water filtration systems, 2,300 mosquito nets, 445 tool kits and 30 SchoolBoxes.

But our assistance has not stopped there. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have maintained our commitment to the Philippines and are extending the type of help we are able to offer. The ShelterBox is still at the heart of what we do…

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Oxfam calls for respect of rights of Haiyan survivors

Originally posted on First Draft:

National and international aid groups, community leaders from Haiyan-affected areas, and key government officials hold a dialogue this week in Manila. (Photo by Vincent Go)

National and international aid groups, community leaders from Haiyan-affected areas, and key government officials hold a dialogue this week in Manila. (Photo by Vincent Go)

International agency Oxfam this week called on the Philippine government to respect the rights of thousands of families displaced by Super Tyhoon Haiyan last year in recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

“A year after [Haiyan], the government must ensure that resettlement processes follow a more principled approach that reflects the rights and priorities of displaced people,” said Alison Kent, Oxfam’s humanitarian policy advisor.

Alison said “meaningful consultations” with those directly affected by resettlement are necessary, “otherwise, resettlement plans risk reinforcing the vulnerability of targeted communities.”

The Oxfam official made the statement during a roundtable discussion attended by national and international aid groups, community leaders from Haiyan-affected areas, and key government officials.

She noted that almost a year after Haiyan devastated the central Philippines, most of the…

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