Typhoon Bopha, which struck the Philippines on Tuesday, has left at least 500 dead and more than 300,000 homeless - with flash floods and landslides wiping out homes and farms while carrying people to their deaths. More than 400 people are still missing.
The typhoon struck the southern portion of the Philippines - a region fortunately often spared by the powerful storms as much of the region is flood prone. In addition to loss of life and homes, the typhoon destroyed nearly 35,000 acres of banana plantations, with an estimated loss of at least $200 million.
AG World Missions Administrator Keith Kidwell reports that all AG missionaries in the region are safe and, where possible, are now working in cooperation with local agencies, Convoy of Hope and national churches to help get aid to victims of the disaster. "We have already disbursed funds from AGWM to the Philippines AG to begin aiding victims," he says.
Hal Donaldson, president and founder of Convoy of Hope, explains that the organization has also disbursed funds and, as they already feed more than 50,000 children in the Philippines, they were prepared for the disaster.
"The Philippines is a poverty-stricken nation and is a frequent target of destructive storms," Donaldson says. "Due to our children's feeding programs there and the likelihood of disaster striking the region, we have emergency food, water filters and other supplies pre-positioned for times like these."
"This is a very tragic time for many families and some of our churches who have suffered the loss of loved ones and/or their homes," says AGWM Asia Pacific Regional Director Russ Turney. "Yet, this disaster has also given our missionaries and national churches an opportunity provide relief and be a positive spiritual influence as they serve those hard-hit communities and share the gospel through deeds of kindness."