“It’s overwhelming. We didn’t expect these many dead,” Benito Ramos, head of the disaster-response agency, said.
Last Friday night, when many of the victims were sleeping, devastating flash floods happened in Northern Mindanao area that caused many casualties. The flash floods were set off by the tropical storm Washi (local name Sendong), which brought heavy rains to the said area.
As of this hour, 652 were reported dead, and 900 others are missing but toll keeps on rising by the hour. Rescuers are still searching of more dead bodies as they begin to rot in the mud. Thousands of people have been displaced, temporarily seeking shelters in church buildings turned into evacuation centers. In this nation constantly ravaged by about 20 typhoons each year, even many were shocked by this sudden calamity coming close to Christmas, the most anticipated holidays in the Philippines for family reunions and gatherings, parties and fellowships.
For me, this is almost surreal. I was not even aware that a typhoon was beating Mindanao as we were having perfect weather in northern Luzon at this time. My heart sank when I heard about this nightmare. Many similar catastrophes have been happening in the Philippines, and around the world, recently, and yet I know hope is still there. A hope and sweet assurance that God will deliver us from all adversaries this world may inflict upon us.
The Philippines is in mourning this holiday season. Many people have cancelled Christmas celebrations; to many the reason for Christmas was lost; to the victims, the meaning of Christmas was washed by the flood that wrecked their homes and families; to most, the hope and joy died and buried in the mud together with their loved ones.
Please help us pray for the victims and their families; pray that they may find hope in the midst of grief and sorrow; pray that they may find comfort in their tears and heartaches; pray that they may experience healing through time; pray that they may see light through this darkness; and pray that their hearts may be touched by the holy spirit and allow God to change their hardened hearts.
To help and donate, visit http://definitelyfilipino.com/blog/2011/12/18/typhoon-sendongs-victims-need-you/ or