Samaritan’s Purse is continuing to rush critical aid to families in the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Rai.
Timothea’s village lies so far from a main road that our emergency shelter material had to be driven in on motorcycles capable of climbing narrow, winding paths. Timothea, who is in her 80s, wasn’t physically able to meet the Samaritan’s Purse team at the normal distribution point, so our teams carried the much-needed material to her home.
Timothea is among hundreds of thousands of people still suffering after Super Typhoon Rai slammed into the southern islands of the Philippines a few weeks ago. Many families lost everything in the storm.
“I prayed with Timothea, and she was overcome with tears. She was truly touched by our visit, and I was equally moved by her gratitude and reception of prayer,” said Ruth Santos, Samaritan’s Purse regional information officer in Asia. “The Lord’s love reached her through Samaritan’s Purse.”
Timothea and her granddaughter, Lilibeth, shared with Ruth that families in their community are desperate for shelter material because not only did the typhoon destroy their homes, but also heavy rains continue to batter the area.
“We’re used to bad weather, but this typhoon was the worst. My grandma wasn’t able to leave on time. She had to hide under here,” Lilibeth said, as she pointed to a small table. “All the roofing is gone—everything is blown off.”
Despite the family’s hardships, Timothea is thankful to Samaritan’s Purse. “You’re the first to come here to give this kind of help,” she said.
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Offering Physical and Spiritual Healing
The Samaritan’s Purse country office in the Philippines began preparing a response even before Super Typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, made landfall. We now have more than 66 staff on the ground who are working with local church partners in the hardest-hit areas to meet critical needs and distribute water kits, heavy-duty tarps, hygiene kits, and emergency food packs.
Our medical team began working in Surigao City on December 30, and since then, more than 1,000 patients have been seen through outreaches where they are conducting outpatient consultations, malnutrition screenings, and administering vaccinations. In one barangay, or community, nearly 40 percent of patients seen by our team are struggling with an upper respiratory tract infection. Many of these people spent days in the rain because they had nowhere safe to go after the roof of an evacuation center collapsed.
“Our barangay is the farthest away from the city center. Many people in this community were injured and health services were disrupted,” said Evalene Torejas, who serves as barangay chairman. “Thankfully, Samaritan’s Purse intervened immediately and provided us with this medical outreach. However, more than the physical and medical healing, you provided us with prayer and counseling. We will forever remember the love you’ve shared.”
“We will forever remember the love you’ve shared.”
One of our physicians, Dr. Jodie Adao, said she is personally encouraged by the number of people who continue to seek God during this time of suffering. “It’s really the spiritual healing that people need most.”
Clean Water is Critical
A number of pipelines were damaged and contaminated due to Super Typhoon Rai, resulting in unsafe drinking water. Yet, without an alternative water source, families were forced to use dirty water and are now dealing with diarrhea and other waterborne illnesses.
In Barangay Cagniog of Surigao City, Samaritan’s Purse Canada partnered with another organization to install a water treatment system with the capacity to daily pump 27,000 liters of safe drinking water and serve up to 1,080 households. We’re also distributing household filters to help families access safe water.
“We have no clean water. So, it’s a big blessing that you are here,” said barangay chairman Marietta Boquilon. “We will share this with other barangays so we can give them clean water. You are an instrument of God. With your prayers, we are strong.”