UMCOR Responds to Typhoon-Stricken Residents
By Salvador G. Eduarte, Jr.*
October 10, 2011, Cavite, Philippines—Personnel of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) along with staff and volunteers of Asuncion Perez Memorial Foundation (APMF) worked together to distribute relief goods to areas affected by back-to-back typhoons.
UMCOR and APMF responded to a request from Bulacan Philippines Annual Conference (BulPAC) of The United Methodist Church for food and non-food items to assist communities impacted by typhoons Nesat and Nalgae, which struck especially the island of Luzon within less than a week of each other.
The organizations distributed about 8,825 food and non-food items to the families of the villages of San Sebastian and San Isidro. BulPAC District Superintendent Danilo Clavio and several pastors also helped in the distribution of goods.
The province of Bulacan is one of the areas severely affected. Typhoons Nesat and Nalgae left waist-deep floodwaters in the province, leaving residents with no choice but to vacate their homes and seek the safety of higher ground or evacuation centers.
According to civil defense officials, more than 586,000 people remain displaced, forced from their homes by the rising waters or unsafe conditions. Nesat, locally called Pedring, slammed into northern Luzon on September 27, followed by Nalgae, or Quiel, just five days later. They brought storm surges, flashfloods, and landslides.
The church in the town of Hagonoy served as the center for the distribution of the relief goods. According to one of the beneficiaries, relief goods coming from a church-related agency such as UMCOR is a blessing to their hapless conditions.
“We are very thankful that UMCOR responded to the needs of our people and communities for food and clothing,” said Mrs. Mely Danganan, a resident of San Sebastian.
Another resident, Mrs. Aning Adriano, averred, “This is the first time we have received relief goods from a church or church-related agency and for that, we are very thankful to UMCOR and the Hagonoy United Methodist Church.”
San Isidro is an isolated village of Hagonoy. Goods and volunteers had to be transported in a kind of canoe in order to reach the place. San Isidro United Methodist Church is still under water, and the community continues to live with water that is still two to three feet high.
Ciony Ayo-Eduarte, UMCOR Philippines manager, thanked the people of the villages for their cooperation in the orderly distribution of the relief goods.
*Salvador G. Eduarte, Jr., is an UMCOR volunteer in the Philippines.