Eyewitness; Words and Photos by ICM COO, Helen Turner
Tropical Storm Washi has left a devastating mark on the Northern part of Mindanao, Philippines. The effected areas reached farther north to the city of Dumaguete on the Island of Negros, where one of our bases is located. ICM COO, Helen Turner, was in Dumaguete attending the wedding of an ICM staff member, Lilian, during the Tropical Storm. Helen soon learned of the countless number of ICM staff members who had been affected by the barrage of Typhoon floodwater. “I heard that Lilian’s own home had washed away in the torrential rain. As we drove [to her wedding ceremony] the evidence of what had happened was clear. Mud was everywhere; debris and fallen trees were all over the place…The wedding went on without any issues and I drove back to my hotel that night still not really understanding.”
The next day, Helen went to see Lilian’s home, “a true scene of total devastation.” It was extremely likely that if Lilian had been in her house instead of at her wedding, she and her younger brother would have been swept away by the rising waters.
“Their home is unrecognizable, now partially buried by dirt from the river. But Lilian, smiling and bright on the day after her wedding says to me, “don’t worry, it’s just things.’”
Helen was accompanied by Pastor Sam Templado, the local Area Head of the ICM Dumaguete Base, who had been receiving phone calls all morning from people asking for help. “Pastor Sam and his family had been cleaning their house since yesterday when the flood waters rose quickly and filled their home knee deep with sludge. They have done an amazing job but…there is a long way to go before it is done.”
Tropical Storm Washi has affected thousands people in Dumaguete and Northern Mindanao and the worst is not over. In poverty stricken areas where food and water are already scarce, natural disasters like this have an even graver effect on the poor. Families, who have lost what little they had previously owned, are now homeless and desperate for aid. Some are still searching for missing family members and friends, while the chaos around them is now their reality.
ICM’s programs help the poorest of the poor who, especially in these times of natural disaster, need long term support. Please consider supporting ICM with a donation today:
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