By Pastor Glem Melo
- Death toll is now estimated to be at least 10,000.
- The number of affected persons is in the millions: 9,497,847.
- Relief and rescue efforts are being hampered by looters.
“The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumble weed and the streets are strewn with debris.” – Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC)
“Tacloban is totally destroyed. Some people are losing their minds from hunger or from losing their families.” – Andrew Pomeda, public school teacher
“There is no security personnel, relief goods are too slow to arrive. People are dirty, hungry and thirsty. A few more days and they will begin to kill each other… This is shameful. We have been hit by a catastrophe and now our businesses are gone. Looted. I can understand if they take our food and water, they can have it. But TV sets? Washing machines?” – Emma Bermejo, pastry shop owner
1. Pray for our suffering people in Tacloban City today.
2. Ask the Lord to lead and direct us as we develop a plan to visit and bring relief goods to pastors and churches there. All communications are still down in the area. We are unable to contact pastors and church leaders there, but we’re not giving up.
3. Please pray for peace and order to be restored in the area. Yesterday, looters ransacked a Red Cross truck and got away with food and water enough for 25,000 families. I have been told just now that “people on the streets are carrying guns and knives”. The following Facebook group posts confirm the anarchic situation in Leyte.
Our team is ready to travel and bring much-needed relief goods to the victims, but more than anything the threat of looting and violence hinders us. Therefore, we turn to prayer and wait for peace and order to be restored in the city.
“We remember also all who suffer from physical dangers, temptation, doubts, illness of mind or body, financial distress and especially those who are near death. May the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ your Son refresh them in their trials and give them the grace to bear the difficulties you send them for their good. Give also to us the grace to share in their suffering and provide for their needs as we are able. Comfort, we pray, all widows and orphans and be to them a father. Show your mercy to prisoners, to those in the military or whose business takes them great distances. Guard their families and bring them back safely, we pray.” – Prayers for Church and Family Life (United Reformed Churches in North America)