Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 17, 2013

Local agencies respond with aid

GOSHEN — Aid is desperately needed in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan wiped out much of the central islands last week. Several local agencies are helping fund that relief and are asking the public to continue giving.

Some of those local agencies include: Mennonite Central Committee, which has partnered with Church World Service, headquartered in Elkhart; the American Red Cross; and Feed the Hungry, part of LeSea Ministries, South Bend.

Tom Hampson, vice president of development for Church World Service, said CWS is appreciative of the initial $30,000 Mennonite Central Committee has given to provide food and non-food items to the Philippines. MCC officials said that in the beginning assistance will be focused on Suigao del Norte and Dinagat Island (both in Mindanao), Bohol and Samar (both in Visayas). MCC officials said this is where their partners have access.

“Of course it’s an enormous human tragedy,” Hampson said. “The needs are considerable.”

To put it in perspective, the Philippines is actually a country made up of about 7,000 islands. The capital, Manila, is to the north. Then there are the central islands, with the city of Cebu in the middle. And finally in the southern islands is another large city, Davao.

It’s the central islands that saw the most destruction, including the city of Tacloban, the capital of the island of Leyte.

Church World Service is working in a coalition, ACT Alliance, already in the Philippines, which is assisting about 200,000 people in a variety of ways. They are providing emergency food to about 259,000, plastic sheeting for shelter, water, sanitation and repairs.

Food — rice, canned goods, dried beans — are all items that are in the Philippines are being assembled and passed out.

Assembly is being done by another partner, the National Council of Churches of the Philippines.

In the longer term, CWS staff from its Asia programs will be providing technical assistance to those partner agencies.

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