BALTIMORE, Md., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Families in Mindanao, Philippines, were still working to recover from 2011's Tropical Storm Washi when Typhoon Bopha struck the island in the early morning hours of December 4. Now Lutheran World Relief is rushing to respond to the overwhelming needs of people whose lives have been devastated by the storm.
According to the latest reports 331 people are confirmed dead as a result of the typhoon and hundreds remain missing. More than 348,000 people have fled to evacuation centers for safety.
"The amount of devastation is significant," says Joanne Fairley, LWR's regional director for Asia and the Middle East.
The storm made landfall three times as it passed northern Mindanao, central Visayas and Palawan, but southern Mindanao was the hardest hit. The typhoon brought 130 mile per hour wind gusts and heavy rainfall that triggered landslides and floods along the coast and in farming and mining towns inland.
Early government reports show that damage to housing and community buildings is severe; in some areas 95 percent of structures have been destroyed. Agricultural lands have also been affected, as have some LWR projects and partner communities.
In the community of Hinatuan, where LWR works with families to improve income, partners report that the damage from Typhoon Bopha is much greater than that of Tropical Storm Washi. Water on roads and highways are waist deep in some areas and more than 34,000 people have been evacuated to shelters. Abalone and fish caging, a main source of income in LWR project areas, were completely ruined.
Even before the storm went off-shore, Lutheran World Relief began assessing the damage on the ground and the needs of families in cooperation with the United Nations, local governments, fellow international non-governmental organizations and with local partner Habitat for Humanity Philippines. LWR is also working closely with partners in the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of church agencies engaged in development, humanitarian response and advocacy.
"As we get a clearer picture of the damage and the needs of the people, LWR will work with partners to develop an emergency response program that focuses on the most urgent needs, such as rebuilding livelihoods, providing shelter and creating financial resources for recovering families," says Fairley. LWR will also send a shipment of Quilts and Personal Care Kits to affected areas.
Lutheran World Relief is accepting donations to its Philippines Floods fund to respond to this emergency. Donations can be made online at lwr.org, by phone at 800.597.5972 or by sending a check or money order to Lutheran World Relief PO Box 17061 Baltimore, MD 21297-1061.
WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.
Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.
SOURCE Lutheran World Relief