Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Top officials of the Seventh-day Adventist world church today voted to contribute $US250,000 to humanitarian relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of one of the most devastating typhoons to make landfall in recorded history.
The amount of money is not the greatest in the world, but we want to demonstrate that we care, and we want to be an example for other church entities that will also contribute.
Super Typhoon Haiyan tore through central Philippines last week, flattening entire towns with 195-mph sustained winds and a massive storm surge. The storm crippled communication and transportation in the region, fettering relief efforts for days.
“We want to express to the Adventist Church in the Philippines our sensitivity to this enormous tragedy,” said Juan Prestol, undertreasurer for the Adventist world church.
“The amount of money is not the greatest in the world, but we want to demonstrate that we care, and we want to be an example for other church entities that will also contribute,” he said.
The donation comes from the Adventist Church’s World Budget Contingency Fund.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has distributed more than 3500 food packs and 5000 shelter tarps to victims in the Philippines. [Photo courtesy: ADRA]
A statement voted by top church officers this morning said, “The assistance will be used, at the discretion of the [Southern Asia-Pacific] Division, to help restore normalcy to the lives of our members and people affected in the area, with consideration given to restoring the normal operations of schools, if advisable.”
Since initial emergency relief, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has distributed more than 3500 food packs and 5000 shelter tarps. The humanitarian arm of the church has also partnered with other relief organisations to set up water purification systems in areas where clean drinking water is needed.
Adventist hospitals in Cebu, Calbayog and Bacolod are serving as hubs for medical outreach in affected areas, an update from the church’s Southern Asia-Pacific Division said. The church’s East Visayan Conference in Tacloban is also serving as a center for relief operations and medical assistance.
“The process is slow because Adventist members are also trying to save the remains of what were once their homes,” a statement from the conference said.
According to ADRA Philippines, needs remain “dire”. Most of the estimated 11 million people displaced by the storm remain in urgent need of food, water and shelter.
“Saving lives and relieving suffering are priorities of the Adventist Church,” said G T Ng, executive secretary of the Adventist world church. “The wonderful people of the Philippines have suffered much in this disaster and deserve all the help we can give.”
ADRA is appealing for public support to ensure its response in the Philippines can continue. Tax-deductible donations can be given online at <www.adra.org.au> or by calling 1800 242 372.