Philippine Typhoon Responders Send Supplies Amid Prayers

Christian relief teams were some of the first aid agencies on the ground to distribute emergency relief items to victims of the torrential Philippine typhoon.

World Vision and Operation Blessing International, two leading Christian humanitarian aid organizations, reported Friday their expectations to dispatch relief teams with supplies for victims of Typhoon Durian.

World Vision Philippines hopes to send three relief assessment team members into Catanduanes Province via a military Hercules C-130 on Saturday following a special appeal to World Vision from the province’s governor. In addition, 10 WV assessment team members plan to travel to Legaspi City, Albay province by road.

OBI reported that it would also use the Filipino Air Force’s C-130 cargo plane on Friday evening to fly food and relief supplies into the disaster zones.

“We are preparing to distribute five days worth of food to 2,000 families, send medical teams, and see how we can help in the rebuilding of homes and livelihood,” said Dr. Kim Pascual, director of Operation Blessing Philippines in a report on the OBI website.

A typhoon with winds as high as 139 mph devastated villages in the Philippines, leaving more than 300 dead and hundreds missing as rescuers continue to search.

Typhoon Durian’s rain loosened boulders and triggered mudslides leaving houses, roads, and people buried under mud and debris. The mudslides engulfed several villages near Mayon, which is the most active volcano in the Philippines.

“Every corner of this province has been hit. It is a total devastation,” said Gov. Fernando Gonzalez of the worst-hit Albay province in eastern Philippines to The Associated Press on Saturday. “Never before in the history have we seen water like this. Almost every residential area was flooded.”

Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers for typhoon victims in the Philippines – a country where 80.9 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.

The typhoon hit the Philippines late Thursday and officials report more than 22,000 people were affected. Damage to phone lines, blocked roads and other physical barriers are hampering relief operations.

Typhoon Durian is expected to weaken into a tropical storm before hitting Vietnam on Monday.