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Torrential Floods Strike Philippines

September 30, 2009

Churches and church-based organizations in the Philippines are helping thousands of families, who have lost relatives, homes and other properties after tropical storm Ketsana unleashes torrential floods.

The 24-hour downfall of rain, on September 26, amounting to more than a foot in a one-day period, resulted in devastating flashfloods and landslides, mainly affecting the northern island of Luzon.

Tropical Storm Ketsana has killed 240 persons in the northern part of the Philippines, with the death toll expected to rise, the British Broadcasting Company reported today. Tens of thousands remain displaced from their homes.

Ketsana has strengthened into a typhoon and is battering Vietnam and Laos.

Global Ministries and Church World Service are responding through local partners in the Philippines. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), a long-time Global Ministries partner, reports that member churches have opened their doors to survivors as evacuation and relief centers. Christian Aid, another partner, reports that its local partner, Socio Pastoral Institute, is working with poor urban communities in the riverside areas of Quezon City.

Flood damage to homes is reported to be severe with many in poorer neighborhoods completely washed away. Almost all affected families lost all their possessions. Many residents have also lost their means of livelihood as factory workers, tricycle drivers and small vendors. Other Christian Aid partners are conducting assessments.

The UCC has sent an immediate One Great Hour of Sharing solidarity grant to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and will support an appeal being prepared by NCCP and Christian Aid.  UCCP and NCCP have already indicated that requested relief assistance will include food, drinking water, non-food relief items, basic medicines and personal hygiene needs. Christian Aid's partner SPI has indicated initial plans to address the needs of 350 urban poor families through distribution of relief goods. This would include food, water, clothes, candles, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and cooking items, such as pots and pans.

Global Ministries also expects to support relief efforts of partners in Vietnam and Laos in the wake of Typhoon Ketsana.

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