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Aid request: Typhoon Sendong ravages Philippine Island
Mennonite Church Canada workers safe

   
 


A flood victim surrounded by debris examines a shoe. - photo courtesy Erwin Mascarinas

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December 20, 2011
-Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. - The death toll from Typhoon Sendong on Dec. 18 could surpass 1,000, say reports coming from the affected Philippine island of Mindanao. As of Dec. 20, 927 are already reported dead, with over 800 still missing.

Dann and Joji Pantoja, Mennonite Church Canada workers and their colleagues at Peacebuilders Community on Mindanao island, are safe, but they sent an appeal for help. "Our current situation here in Mindanao is gloomy," wrote Joji in an email on Dec. 19. "Peacebuilders Community is currently organizing and mobilizing our brothers and sisters to help," she wrote. "It is a heartbreaking reality."

Statistics vary this early in the disaster. Government reports say 143,000 people have been affected by flash floods and landslides. About 45,000 of those are presently in evacuation shelters. Reported rainfall amounts varied from 150 - 300 mm, depending on the location, with wind speeds of 50 kph gusting up to 90 kph.

Drinking water, food, medicine, bedding, footwear, and clothing are among the items urgently needed. "We are rallying local businesses and individuals to donate," wrote Joji. The Pantojas have set up a Facebook page to keep up with evolving situation, which can be reached via www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1690. They are seeking emergency funds from international and local Philippines partners to respond to the need.

Mennonite Church Canada has approved an immediate above budget response to the situation. Donations designated for "Philippines Typhoon Sendong relief" can be sent to Mennonite Church Canada, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB, R3P 0M4, or online at www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1672, or by via 1-866-888-6785. Mennonite Central Committee is also accepting donations at https://donate.mcc.org/project/philippine-floods and 1-888-622-6337.