PRAYER ALERT: Authorities fear that Typhoon Haiyan may claim more lives than the 5000 lost in the worst previous typhoon in the Philippines’ history. But it will be a long time before the full extent of the death and destruction is known. Aid workers must first find their way through barely recognizable ruins. Typhoon Haiyan came with up to 190 mph gusts and 14 foot waves tossing ships inland, and hurling cars and trucks back out to sea. It blocked up roads with piles of debris and downed power lines. It left corpses hanging from trees. It wiped out seaports, crippled airports, demolished bridges and splintered homes. Not a single building in Tacloban (pop. 221,174) survived without serious damage. Many of the thousands found dead were thrown into mass graves. More may die of wounds and spreading disease if they don’t receive aid soon.
Thirty-six provinces with 4.5 million people in central Philippines were affected by Typhoon Haiyan. One-tenth of those people were displaced. Their cries for food, water, shelter and medicine still go mostly unheard—except by looters, who rob victims and aid workers alike. President Benigno Aquino III has considered declaring martial law to hold back the anarchy.
In the meantime, U.S. Marines began landing at some of the areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan. They are bringing drinkable water, generators, other critical supplies, and security measures with them. This is the first wave of $20 million in American aid. By Nov. 16 the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and other support ships will arrive. The UN has pledged $27 million and other individual nations have pledged more than $35 million in aid.
But the most effective support in such disasters often comes from Christian agencies empowered by prayer. Presently Catholic Relief Services, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision are mobilizing workers with resources for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Please consider giving to any of them. They are Christ’s hands reaching out to these traumatized people. And pray for their protection, provision and reformation.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, You are our Healer, Sustainer and Restorer. We ask that You would bring miraculous healings in the name of Jesus to those whom medical supplies and physicians have not yet reached. We ask that You would multiply bread and release fresh water to those whom food supplies have not yet reached. You did it for the Israelites in the wilderness though they rebelled against You. Let mercy triumph over judgment in the parts of Philippines and Vietnam where Typhoon Haiyan has struck.
Be their Restorer too. We have seen in Caye Caulker and in Belize how You raised up better homes and made level roads in a short time after a hurricane. Call out Your people whom You have prepared for such a time as this. Speak to them from Your word in Isa 58:12. “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.