Anglican agencies, churches rally to help Typhoon Haiyan victims

By ACNS staff
Posted Nov 14, 2013

[Anglican Communion News Service] The mission agency Us is the latest in a series of Anglican agencies raising funds to help people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

In a statement issued Nov. 14, the U.K.-based agency appealed for donations to help them provide food, water, sleeping bags and blankets, plastic sheeting and materials for housing.

“Donations will also fund a long-term rehabilitation program that will include helping farmers to start growing crops again. Initial donations to Us will support the relief work of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). Subsequent donations will fund the work of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) and the Philippine Independent Church (PIC).”

The super typhoon is reported to have affected 9.5 million people in nine regions of the Philippines. More than 1,000 are known to be dead and over 618,000 people displaced – with only two thirds finding shelter in one of the 1,458 evacuation centers.

According to Episcopal Relief & Development in the U.S., among those most at risk were the estimated 270,000 people who had been residing in tents and other makeshift shelters following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the central Philippines on Oct. 15, killing 222 people. It is also raising funds.

Its Senior Vice President for Programs Abagail Nelson said this week, “Our partner, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, has done excellent work in the area of disaster risk reduction over the past few years, but when events come one on top of the other like this, challenges are compounded. We are standing ready to offer assistance as the local Church assesses needs and identifies  areas where it can best help vulnerable people in this difficult time.”

The Most Rev. Paul Kwong, archbishop and primate of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, has donated HK$300,000 (US$38,700) from the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Archbishop World Relief Fund as an initial step in relieving the need of the sufferers in the affected areas.

Kwong has also appealed to churches, schools and social welfare units of the province “to be generous in their contributions and to remember the sufferers and the dead in their prayers.”

After anxious Filipino crewmen and women converged on the world’s Mission to Seafarers‘ centers in the hope that they can quickly find out the situation at home, the Anglican seafarer’s charity has set up a a new emergency communications fund, which will give free access to Wi-Fi and hand out phone cards to Filipino seafarers in their directly funded international centers.

The Diocese of Singapore is setting up a Haiyan Response Centre at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Welcome Centre and is looking for volunteers to serve in the field. It is also receiving donations.

The Church of Ireland is also responding through the Bishops’ Appeal emergency fund. Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Michael Jackson have sanctioned the immediate release of €10,000 (US$13,455) to Christian Aid partners on the ground to provide tarpaulins, tents, food and hygiene kits to those who urgently need them. They urge the Church to respond generously in the face of such overwhelming need.

Anglicord, in Australia, as part of ACT Alliance have appealed to supporters to contribute AUS$100,000 (US$93,200) to support the work of ACT Alliance partners in the Philippines. The Anglican Board of Mission has also launched an appeal.

In New Zealand, Christian World Service (founded by the National Council of Churches) launched an appeal. International Programmes Coordinator Trish Murray said, “It is a very difficult time but an opportunity for New Zealanders to show they care. The storm was ferocious and the damage epic. One country cannot bear the load alone.”

The Primates’ World Relief and Development Fund in Canada has committed a further CAN$20,000 (US$19,076) in response to the devastation caused by the typhoon.

In a statement the agency said, “PWRDF has committed a further $20,000 (US$19,076) in response to Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of the Philippines.

We received a message from PWRDF partner agencies in the Visayas region of the country who are working together to provide relief to thousands of people in Visayas and Cebu who were still working to recover from the Bohol earthquake last month and who were then battered by Typhoon Haiyan.

“The devastation is so big and massive, [it is] so overwhelming to see many homes and establishments destroyed — even cement buildings… Many children are on the road begging for help, putting posters made of used cardboard to deliver their message for the need of water, food and tents,” wrote Geraldine Labradores of the Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center in an email to PWRDF.

PWRDF’s funds will be used to provide bottled water, rice, canned goods and other supplies in communities in Bohol and Cebu affected by the earthquake and typhoon and who have not yet been reached by ongoing relief efforts.”

Churches who are raising funds themselves include Trinity Wall Street and St Thomas Church in New York City. They have jointly committed $100,000 and are asking congregations, staff, and friends to give.