[Updated January 16, 2014. 2:25 p.m.]
Reports of damaged churches continue to rise as communication lines are now restored in areas hardest hit by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and after PGCAG Assessments Teams have reached these places. Adding to the arduous task of gathering information in typhoon afflicted areas is the fact that our local counterparts, the district officers, had also sustained Yolanda’s wrath.
At least 140 Assemblies of God churches reportedly damaged by the great typhoon. Earlier, it was reported to be 127 Yolanda-hit Assemblies of God Churches, but as reports coming in from Western Visayas District Council (WVDC) and Northwestern Visayas District Council (NWVDC), there are at least ten churches that were not initially reported to the districts. The extent of destruction to worship centers and parsonages varies from roofs being blown off to leftover debris of collapsed building. The report is also confirmed by the assessment team deployed in the area.
Phase I – Relief
As initial response, PGCAG mobilized response teams and brought aid to the survivors in Leyte, Samar, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique and Northern Cebu. We have accomplished this task in partnership with AGMF, Convoy of Hope (COH), Cathedral of Praise and other foreign organizations. PGCAG’s nearby district councils and churches also responded to the typhoon afflicted provinces in their own capacity. The leadership of PGCAG is grateful to those who extended their generosity in cash, in kind, in the form of service and in their fervent prayer as we respond to this daunting task.
Here’s what we have provided so far to the affected families in different provinces:
- Leyte & Samar – approx. 2,500 families received food packs, water, shelter kit and clothes.
- Panay Island (Capiz, Aklan, Iloilo, Northern Antique) – approx. 10,000 families received food packs, water, and medicines. We are targeting to deliver 1,500 shelter kits to Iloilo before the year ends.
- Northern Cebu – approx. 2,000 families received food packs, water and clothes.
Food Packs contain canned goods, COH meals, and rice. Shelter Kit includes tarpaulin, sleeping mat, mosquito net, and nylon rope.
PGCAG also sent immediate financial assistance to districts that are not heavily hit by the typhoon but still left destruction to churches. The districts are empowered to help their churches in the repair of partially damaged parts. While in heavily hit areas, some district officers whose livelihood were also impaired received financial assistance for mobilization to help them in assessing the state of churches under their care after Yolanda struck them.
Phase II – Rehabilitation
PGCAG is committed to help the churches in rebuilding their damaged worship centers and parsonages. Thus, adopt a church program was launched to encourage churches, districts and organizations to be part of this meaningful endeavor.
Assessment and Rebuilding Team Leaders for Leyte & Samar and Panay Island were appointed separately by General Superintendent Rey Calusay to speed up the reconstruction of churches. They are tasked to evaluate the extent of damage to churches, identify materials needed for repair and organize teams for rebuilding and reconstruction.
Immediately after adopt-a-church program was launched there are some individuals, churches, and organizations that sent donation for the reconstruction of their adopted churches. Thus, we are now starting the rehabilitation phase to 10 churches in Leyte-Samar, 35 churches in Panay Island, 5 churches in Northern Cebu for which funds were initially designated by donors. The task isn’t over yet; we have just begun. ADOPT A CHURCH NOW!
Phase III – Recovery
Since many had lost their livelihood, PGCAG will continue to stretch it arms to help the members of affected churches get back on their feet and start rebuilding their lives. Let us finish this task together.