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Partners in Philippines Respond Ecumenically to Super Typhoon Haiyan

On the morning of November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the central Philippines, causing widespread damage and knocking out power and communications lines.  The Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) has completed the initial relief phase of its response to Typhoon Haiyan – known locally as Yolanda – and will continue to assist impacted communities in rebuilding homes and rehabilitating livelihoods.  Episcopal Relief & Development supplied funding and technical support for these activities, which have strengthened relationships among participating communities, built local resilience and created economic growth.

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April 8, 2014

Join us for a special webinar on the ongoing response to Typhoon Haiyan on May 6, 2014, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET.

You'll hear from Episcopal Relief & Development staff including Robert Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development, Sara Delaney, Program Officer, and Kirsten Laursen Muth, Senior Director, International Programs about this important work.

Register online here, or call 855.312.HEAL (4325).


March 4, 2014

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) has completed the initial relief phase of its response to Typhoon Haiyan – known locally as Yolanda – and will continue to assist impacted communities in rebuilding homes and rehabilitating livelihoods.  Episcopal Relief & Development supplied funding and technical support for these activities, which have strengthened relationships among participating communities, built local resilience and created economic growth.

Read the full press release


December 19, 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan shattered lives and livelihoods when it struck the central Philippines on November 8, leaving piles of debris everywhere.  Episcopal Relief & Development Program Officer Sara Delaney traveled to the Philippines in December to visit programs and work with Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) staff on their three-year long-term recovery plan.  They went to Tacloban, where they had a chance to talk with area residents who were working on clearing debris and salvaging belongings and building materials.

"While we were talking, I slowly realized how long it would take for these families to rebuild their lives,” Delaney said.  

“I was comforted at least by knowing that ECP is committed to working with communities through the entire rebuilding process, and that they have the experience and skills to guide families back, and hopefully also to make them even stronger.”

Click here to read the full December 2013 Power of Partnerships feature story.


December 6, 2013

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) continues to work with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) to provide food, water and medical assistance to those impacted by Super Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda.

University students and senior citizens are among those joining the volunteer effort to assemble and pack relief kits to be transported to hard-hit areas.  According to the Anglican Relief for Typhoon Yolanda Survivors Facebook page, a relief and medical mission reached the Bantayan Islands on November 27, and two trucks of locally sourced relief supplies arrived in southwestern Samar on November 28.  Two ECP staff members also traveled from the Church office in Quezon City to Samar to participate in the distribution of supplies and gather feedback from local organizers and aid recipients to inform future activities.

Episcopal Relief & Development staff will travel to the Philippines in the coming week.  The visit will include the agriculture programs in the northern part of the country that are producing food supplies for the relief effort, as well as the impacted area around Tacloban where those items are being distributed.  Episcopal Relief & Development staff will support ECP staff as they develop their long-term recovery plan.

“The ECP staff are doing an incredible job of working with local church contacts and national staff at the NCCP to coordinate relief efforts,” said Sara Delaney, Program Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development.  “In everything they do, they look at how the immediate activities will help to strengthen communities in the long-term.  Together we will work on creating plans that address the needs of the most vulnerable while building systems that can boost development overall.”


November 22, 2013

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) is organizing its network of community and farmers’ groups in the northern part of the country to produce food for Super Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the hard-hit central region around Tacloban and Samar.

The Church’s relief activities are part of Operation Paglingap, an initiative of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, of which ECP is a member.  ECP staff emphasize that although the Church is actively participating in emergency relief, its most significant efforts will be in the short- and long-term recovery phases, after first-response organizations have finished their work.

Currently, ECP program groups in the northern Philippines are processing locally grown sweet potatoes, vegetables and organic rice into food items such as biscuits and noodles that can be easily transported and stored.  These products utilize and support the Church’s sustainable agriculture programs, strengthen the local economy, reduce packaging waste and cost less to pack and ship, since they are lighter than canned goods often used in emergency food distributions.

In a recent update, Provincial Secretary and National Development Officer Floyd Lalwet wrote: "In order to produce at the very least 1 ton of biscuits a week for several weeks, we need to have several communities working together. So while we are working on how best to do relief work, we are also ensuring the supply chain for healthful foods. This will also bolster our natural farming enterprise."

Earlier in the week, Lalwet spoke to a group of Anglican Communion relief and development organizations on a conference call hosted by the Anglican Alliance.  He went into further detail about the assembly and distribution of family food packs at the National Cathedral in Quezon City, and mentioned the establishment of two feeding centers in impacted areas.

Episcopal Relief & Development staff will travel to the Philippines in the coming weeks to work alongside the ECP in developing a three-year recovery plan.  ECP plans to cooperate ecumenically on accompanying a group of impacted communities through long-term recovery.


November 15, 2013

In the week following Super Typhoon Haiyan’s impact on November 8, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) engaged its member churches, including the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, to mobilize youth volunteers for Operation Paglingap (“caring” in Tagalog). 

So far, the combined effort has produced 6,000 family food packs containing a week’s worth of basic supplies such as rice, fish and cooking oil.  The supplies were purchased in Manila with local and international funds, and an additional 5,000 food packs are currently in assembly.

Food and water are being distributed from Catbalogan, a city on the island of Samar, where Haiyan first made landfall.  Supply delivery is slowly progressing via truck and ferry, and NCCP staff are working with government and ecumenical partners to coordinate distribution to families in need.  Member church presence in rural communities will greatly help in expanding the reach of relief supplies.

Assessments are currently underway that will inform ongoing response efforts, including the relocation of displaced persons and pastoral care for those who have lost loved ones.


November 13, 2013

The Most Reverend Edward P. Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, has released the following statement regarding the church's response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda:

A STATEMENT FROM THE ECP PRIME BISHOP ON SUPER TYPHOON YOLANDA

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines continues to offer prayers for our brothers and sisters in the central part of our country whose lives were tragically lost and broken in the ferocious path of a super typhoon that came a month after a killer earthquake also brought death and destruction in the same region. We grieve for and with them as we continue to implore Divine comfort upon all who bear the pain of such a catastrophic experience.

To all our constituents, let our communities and local churches be centers of prayerful solidarity and an assurance of our love,  thoughts and hopes for our suffering brothers and sisters. Let us individually and collectively take every positive effort to contribute to the massive relief undertaking. We are now working in coordination with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines for our participation in the relief work. We also affirm and support the initiatives of our Dioceses of Davao and Central Philippines as they minister to our constituents in the affected areas.

To our partners, we acknowledge and express our gratitude for your thoughts, prayers and support. We appeal for your continuing solidarity as we all join hands in rising up from the unimaginable devastation of our land.

THE MOST REV. EDWARD P. MALECDAN
Prime Bishop
Episcopal Church in the Philippines 


November 12, 2013

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines is currently mobilizing volunteers, particularly youth, to collect and distribute relief supplies such as food, water and other necessities. Church buildings that were not heavily damaged by Haiyan are being used as centers of operation. These activities are part of a larger ecumenical effort being coordinated by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Transportation difficulties continue to pose a significant obstacle to rescue and relief work, with many areas still only accessible by military aircraft. 


November 11, 2013

Director of Engagement Sean McConnell writes about the three Rs of disaster response – Rescue, Relief and Recovery – and how Episcopal Relief & Development's partnership methodology positions the organization to have the greatest long-term impact.


November 11, 2013

Episcopal Relief & Development has been in contact with its local partner, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan.  The storm made landfall in the central Philippines on the morning of November 8, causing widespread damage and disabling power and communications lines.  Rescue and relief efforts are reportedly being hampered due to roads being clogged with debris.

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines is working with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, an ecumenical group of which it is a member, to develop a coordinated response strategy.  Episcopal Relief & Development plans to offer technical and financial assistance to aid these efforts.

“Our prayers are with all who were impacted by this storm,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President for Programs.  “We will continue to be in touch with our partners at the Episcopal Church in the Philippines to support them as they work with their colleague churches to determine how best to respond in this time of crisis.”

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the Philippines reported on the evening of November 10 that an estimated 9.5 million people across 41 provinces were affected by the storm, with 630,000 displaced and served both inside and outside the 1,645 active evacuation centers.  The report also estimates the number of damaged houses at just under 20,000.

High winds approaching tornado-like speeds caused significant damage as the storm swept across the country, producing storm surges up to 20 feet high in coastal areas and sending waves of water more than half a mile inland.

The typhoon weakened as it crossed the South China Sea to make landfall in Vietnam on the morning of November 11, and was downgraded to a tropical storm as it entered southern China later in the day.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offered the following prayer for the people of the Philippines

O God our help in time of trouble, we pray for the Filipino people who have suffered this grievous natural disaster. We pray that survivors may find water, food, and shelter, and news of their missing loved ones. There is trauma and destruction in many places, and little news from some of the areas hardest hit. Give peace and confidence, O Lord, to those in the midst of the whirlwind. Open hearts and hands around the world to respond sacrificially to the urgent need. Help us to remember that we are connected, one to another, the living to the dead, the comfortable to the suffering, the peaceful to the worried and anxious. Motivate us to change our hearts, for our misuse and pollution of the earth you have given us to share has something to do with this disaster.  Show us your suffering Son in the midst of this Calvary, that we might love one another as he has loved us.  In your holy name we pray.  Amen.

Earlier in the day, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent a message of prayer and solidarity.  According to ACNS, “[t]he Archbishop said the Church is praying for those who are 'most vulnerable in this crisis' – children separated from their parents, the sick and injured, the disabled and the elderly – and will ‘stand beside the people of the Philippines’.” 

Your donation to the Philippines Fund will enable Episcopal Relief & Development to support the Episcopal Church in the Philippines as they respond to Super Typhoon Haiyan.


November 10, 2013

As local authorities continue assessments and communications lines are restored, the scope of the impact of Super Typhoon Haiyan is becoming known.

The New York Times reports: "The typhoon left Tacloban in ruins, as a storm surge as high as 13 feet overwhelmed its streets, with reports from the scene saying that most of the houses had been damaged or destroyed in the city of 220,000. More than 300 bodies have already been recovered, said Tecson John S. Lim, the city administrator, adding that the toll could reach 10,000 in Tacloban alone."

Please continue to pray for all who were impacted by the storm, and for those working to save lives and restore safety and security.


November 8, 2013

Episcopal Relief & Development has reached out to its partners in the Philippines, as Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the central part of the country on the morning of November 8.

According to reports, Haiyan is the strongest typhoon this year and may be one of the strongest in history, with winds that peaked at 195 miles per hour.  The impact of the storm caused flash flooding, mudslides and 30-foot storm surges, and knocked out power and communications networks in several provinces.

At this early point in the storm, three deaths have been confirmed and seven injuries reported.  As many as one million people fled to safer areas, with some 125,000 taking refuge in evacuation centers.  Authorities had warned earlier that approximately 12 million people were at risk due to the storm.

Among those most at risk were the estimated 270,000 people who had been residing in tents and other makeshift shelters following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the central Philippines on October 15, killing 222 people.

“Our partner, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, has done excellent work in the area of disaster risk reduction over the past few years, but when events come one on top of the other like this, challenges are compounded,” said Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President for Programs.  “We are standing ready to offer assistance as the local Church assesses needs and identifies areas where it can best help vulnerable people in this difficult time.”

Please pray for the Church in the Philippines and for all those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Your donation to the Philippines Fund will enable Episcopal Relief & Development to support the Episcopal Church in the Philippines as they respond to Super Typhoon Haiyan.

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