Efforts are still underway to assist an estimate 720,000 people in the Philippines affected by tropical storm Washi last month. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is distributing food, safe drinking water and cash cards to purchase emergency supplies of essential items.
In cooperation with Global Medic, ADRA Philippines has installed water purification units to provide residents in affected communities with clean water. In addition, ADRA has distributed rice and other food supplies to nearly 1,500 families.
A driver for ADRA Philippines staff remembered the night Washi made landfall on December 16. “When we looked back, to our despair we saw cars being washing away by a strong flash flood … right behind us,” the driver said.
According to the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, tropical storm Washi hit far to the south of the most storm-prone region of the country, sweeping across towns and villages unaccustomed to coping with storms of this strength. Agency reports indicate that nearly 1,500 people were reported dead, with more than 1,000 still missing. More than 50 evacuation centers have been established to house an estimated 54,000 people who lost their homes during flash flooding.
The tropical storm disrupted the predominately Christian nation during the holiday season.
“Families found themselves spending the holiday on … the floor of a basketball court together with other victims, sharing four toilets and getting food sporadically,” said ADRA Philippines Country Director Goran Hansen.
ADRA will continue to monitor the situation. For details, visit adra.org.