Providing Critical Relief to Isolated Island Communities in the Philippines

29th January 2022

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Samaritan’s Purse continues to distribute emergency supplies in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rai.

More than one month after Super Typhoon Rai slammed into the Philippines, Samaritan’s Purse is still working hard to meet the needs of remote island villages. Many of these impoverished communities are only accessible by boat, making relief efforts much more difficult.

Heavy-duty shelter material is helping to protect families who lost everything in the typhoon.

Heavy-duty shelter material is helping to protect families who lost everything in the typhoon.

“Sea travel has an element of danger because the sea level transitions from high to low tide and the current can be rough. But the people badly need help,” said Lloyd Abrenica, a Samaritan’s Purse staff member. “In some places, people are totally exposed to the elements. We distributed relief under the sun because there were no covered structures left where we could set up.”

Samaritan’s Purse continues to serve in Jesus’ Name in these cut-off areas, bringing emergency relief supplies such as food, shelter material, and water filtration kits. We’re also distributing hygiene kits that include toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, laundry powder, hair combs, and underwear. In addition, the kits include important infection prevention items like face masks.

Ruth Santos, Samaritan’s Purse regional information officer in Asia, explained that the devastating typhoon has stolen the livelihoods of many farmers who rely on palm trees for coconuts and copra, which is the dried section of the coconut meat. Coconut oil is extracted from copra and used for livestock feed.

“The mountains are practically stripped bare. The palm trees on the hills have been leveled, with each tree representing lost livelihoods that will take 5-10 years to rehabilitate,” Ruth said.

Abloy is a copra farmer who not only lost his livelihood, but was also without a clean water source after the typhoon turned local water brackish. Our teams installed a desalination treatment system that is now providing safe water. Abloy helped our staff install the water system and, after receiving training, is now overseeing maintenance and security for the system.

“It’s good that people are now able to have water to drink,” he said.

Grateful for Basic Necessities

Beneficiaries at a recent distribution were so excited to receive aid items, especially the hygiene kits, that they opened them right away, not even waiting until they returned home.

“Oh, a comb! I can finally comb my hair,” said one beneficiary. “I’ve not combed my hair in so long.”

Our teams are distributing aid in hard-hit island communities.

Our teams are distributing aid in hard-hit island communities.

Now that the country is entering the rainy season, typhoon victims also expressed gratitude for emergency shelter material.

“Water will no longer fall on them and they can finally sleep at night. It’s a pity, because when it rains, they can’t sleep; they remain standing,” said Lito Escopete, chairman of an island barangay (neighbourhood) in Surigao City. “I’m thankful to Samaritan’s Purse who sympathised with us and showed compassion.”

Another barangay chairman, Noel Detuya, said that almost all of the homes in his community were totally demolished. “I’m thankful that Samaritan’s Purse made it here. It’s a big help to our barangay. Even now, so many are trying to cope with the rain. They have no shelter,” he said. “I’m thankful to the Lord for using you to help us.”

Our teams also served an indigenous people group that had been desperate for help to reach their remote village.

“We’ve been waiting a long time. We are only a small community but thankful that you noticed us,” said Jocelyn, a village resident. “I don’t know how to fully express my gratitude. I’m just so happy because the Lord heard my prayer.”

Please continue praying for our staff as they serve hurting people in the wake of Super Typhoon Rai. Pray that families in the Philippines will trust God during this challenging time.

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