Five years ago when Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) struck the Philippines, it left a path of death and destruction. ICM was able to act immediately thanks to pre-positioned food stored in our bases. We were able to deliver millions of meals to affected communities while international agencies waited for their goods to arrive. After that incident, ICM gave four million meals to people in the communities we were serving as well as to other charities that were able to distribute the meals through their own channels.
Through that incident, we learned some important lessons. Now as Typhoon Mangkhut (called Ompong in the Philippines) is on its way, ICM is mobilizing to prepare for the 240kph/150mph winds that it will bring. In the years following Typhoon Haiyan, ICM has been preparing in several different ways: training church leaders, creating the REDI Network and replenishing our food stocks.
Since Typhoon Haiyan, we arranged for church leaders in the Philippines to go through a disaster preparedness curriculum, which includes psychosocial counseling and basic first aid skills like CPR. Secondly, the REDI (Rapid Emergencies and Disasters Intervention) Network was created as a way to dependably communicate among the pastors, enabling them to broadcast and receive messages. They can receive updates on the latest weather conditions as well as report the damage done to their community and what help is needed. Lastly, ICM has always earmarked a portion of its food pack stocks to be used in the case of disasters, but recently we were able to ship and warehouse a full 40-foot container of food packs, over 1,000 boxes, meant exclusively for disaster response.
Most of the damage is expected in the northern part of the Philippines, but there is a chance of destructive winds across the northern parts of Cebu, Negros, and Panay islands where ICM is actively working. Two days ago, we sent a text message to almost 6,000 pastors reminding them how they should respond, and how ICM can help them should the need arise. We are thankful for everyone who has partnered with ICM to support vulnerable communities, especially when we face these potential disasters.