Philippines team among first responders in devastating aftermath of Super-Typhoon Haiyan

Photo: Children on the island of Cebu who are among the estimated 500,000 now homeless.

Thanks to a steel-reinforced rebuild of our Philippines main campus two years ago after a similar cyclone nearly destroyed our entire facility, our native team remained safe and dry during one of the strongest storms in recorded history. This allowed for our team to be among the first responders to the heartbreaking devastation the storm left in its path. Our team is headquartered on the island of Cebu, one of the most severely affected islands in the path of the storm.

With winds reaching record-breaking speeds of over 235 mph (378 km/h), the storm arrived with sudden force on November 8 in central Philippines, dealing crushing blows to the islanders who make their homes mostly from bamboo and thatched materials. Tens of thousands are presumed dead with more than half a million now homeless.

Entire coastal villages were swept away by giant storm surges reminding us of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The broad path of destruction across the central islands has directly affected an estimated 4 million Filipinos.

Several of our dedicated volunteers who work in our children’s outreach programs on Cebu lost their homes and crops—life will be upside down for the next few months as they work to rebuild. Our team is working to provide shelter, food, and water for the hundreds of children who participate in our programs along with their families.

Our resources are stretched due to responses to other emergencies such as the recent Cyclone in India. We have established a Typhoon Recovery Fund to receive donations for the express purpose of helping our volunteers and friends rebuild their homes.

Our Philippines Director reports, “We have several volunteers and friends involved in our programs who have lost everything including homes and crops. At this time there is a severe food and water shortage. We appeal on their behalf, please help us to help them.”

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