Helping the Philippines recover . . . for a few hundred dollars per house

One of the really cool things about my job is that I get to work at an organization whose reach extends around the world, which means that when a natural disaster strikes, often there is a way that we can respond and help. Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8th last year, and was the deadliest typhoon on record to hit that country. Over 6,000 people died, but many more were made homeless as their houses were destroyed.

Right now one our of senior staff, Blair Clark, is in the Philippines to assess the damage along with our partners and to assess how we can help. He sent us this report:

“Their tears said it all…

“We had hiked up to the mountain village of Aglongon in central Panay Island in the Philippines to see first hand the damagethat Typhoon Haiyan had done to the homes there and to determine howCBM could help. After seeing some of the destroyed homes, we sat with some of the villagers to discuss their most pressing needs and our response. As these men and women described their needs, I took notes and did some quick calculations, and realized that we could rebuild their homes for just hundreds of dollars per house! How could we not help! Could their hopes and dreams and dignity be restored for just a relatively small amount per family? After we promised to help, we asked if anyone wanted to say anything else. Two of the women tried to speak, but couldn’t because of the tears streaming down their faces which radiated both joy and relief. Eventually they wiped their eyes and expressed, in simple but heartfelt words, their deep gratitude to God and to CBM.

As I sat there, touched by their genuine response, I was also struck by the great gulf that exists in our world between the rich and the poor. In Canada a few hundred dollars may be used to purchase an I-pad or new smartphone, but for families in Aglongon, it can restore hope by building a new home. For these people, their homes destroyed by the typhoon of the century, some of the poorest people in the Philippines, this means everything – hope, security, the assurance that someone cares. So to each and every Canadian Baptist who so generously contributed funds for the Typhoon Haiyan relief, thank you from those whose lives you have touched, to whom you have given hope, and with whom you have shared God’s love in a very tangible way.”

Philippines photo from Blair