| Relief Group Spreads Hope to Typhoon Ravaged Philippines
11 December 2006
As the people in Legazpi city gather what's been left of their belongings, residents lament that they do not know how to start their lives again.
According to the National Disaster Coordinating Council, more than 80,000 families were left homeless by one of history's worst typhoons. Five hundred forty are confirmed dead, while more than 740 people are still missing from the mudslides that buried the villages in the area.
Reporter Jay Esteban stood on the roof of what used to be a two-story house in the village of Binitayan. The entire village is buried in mud and debris. Although search and rescue operations have stopped, the villagers continue to dig for belongings.
Some are hoping against hope that they will still find their loved ones.
Homeless Mercoria Basas mourns over the loss of her five children who all drowned when flash floods swept through their village. Her husband, a pastor of their church, is also missing. Her 11-year-old son is what's left of her family.
The boulder that rests on a lake is where their house and church used to stand.
"I need someone to talk to or else I'll go insane," Basas said. "I don't want to be alone."
When Operation Blessing learned of Basa's plight, they responded to her needs. She received a medical checkup and much needed food and clothing.
Despite her sad state, Basas says she is thankful for all the help she receives.
"Thank you Operation Blessing," Basas said. "I thank God and you people who help me stay firm and strong in the faith."
The local government says it may take a full year before normalcy is restored to the city.
For its part, Operation Blessing is helping all the affected areas by providing 76 tons of relief goods consisting of sugar, boxes of sardines, and noodles, sacks of rice, 25 boxes of medicines, 5000 trauma counseling materials, and water purifiers.
It may be a bleak Christmas for most of the people here, but these children singing Christmas carols spread a spirit of hope that brings us back to the true meaning of the season, which is giving especially in this most difficult time.
By Jay Esteban CWN News
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