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© 2016 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Heartbreaking Effects of Typhoon Ketsana on our Clients & Staff in the Philippines

By Rob Moll

The capital city of the Philippines, Manila, has been devastated by typhoon Ketsana during this past week. The storm dumped as much rain on the city as fell on New Orleans during the Katrina hurricane in 2005. One month’s worth of rain fell on the city in the space of just 12 hours on Saturday, Sept. 26. Opportunity received this update from one of our Philippine partners.

"Eighty percent of the Manila metropolis and nearby provinces were severely devastated. Hundreds of our clients lost homes, and we heard that some clients and their families died from raging waters and floods. We don’t know yet the exact number of casualties, but it was really disheartening to see the sufferings of my fellow Filipinos. The floods severely affected both rich and poor. My heart bleeds every time I watch and hear stories of people killed and missing since last Saturday. The devastation is heart wrecking. According to our weather station, about 34.1 cm [13 ½ inches] of rain fell in just six hours. Three of our staff members are stranded on the second floor of their houses, and our driver and his family had to leave their house and transfer to their neighbor’s, who has a second floor.  If they hadn’t, they would all be drowned. Where I live, 400 people were forced to wait on their rooftops for rescue boats. The floodwaters in the streets reached four feet. We are going to deliver potable water to our staff, because there is no electricity in their place and no potable water available in the nearby market. At one branch, three clients died from drowning, and 42 staff and their families lost their homes. The whole town of Cainta Rizal, where the bank operates, is 100 percent under water. The office is preparing space to be used as an evacuation center for the 42 staff and their families because all government evacuation centers are full. One of the bank’s communities in Manila has floodwaters that reach as high as 20 feet. Gerry Anit, the VP for operations, had to evacuate because his home was submerged in water. He says it will probably take one month before floodwaters subside. In addition:

  • 1000 families were affected at a location in Balanga City. Evacuation centers and the communities where they operate are still flooded.
  • 3000 families at the offices in Valenzuela City were greatly affected.
  • At the location in Makati City, outside of Manila, one client and his entire family died when their house in Quezon City was swept away by raging floodwaters.

We need much prayer from you, and if you are moved by God to mobilize resources for the people and clients here, we would appreciate it. Right now some of us are sharing our own clothes and money with those who are severely affected."

In addition to the immediate impact of the flooding, reports say that economic development in the country has been severely set back. “The floods will set back the country because Metro Manila produces 40% of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product],” Luz Lorenzo, an economist. To help the country recover, Opportunity is directing supporters to help fund loans for our clients in the Phillipines. Act now at OptINnow.

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