Six months on, life for residents in Iloilo, stricken by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 is gradually returning to normalcy, following efforts by City Harvest Church.
When a medical team from City Harvest Church, supported by CityCare, led by Kenneth Sim, a pastor from City Harvest Church, arrived in Estancia, Iloilo on November 18, 2013, towns and cities in the Philippines had been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan just 10 days before.
Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, killing 6,268 people in the Philippines.
Six medical relief teams were sent to affected areas like Iloilo and Tacloban, one after the other, starting November 18. From January to March 2014, five other teams were sent to provide aid.
The decision to lend a helping hand came when two of CHC’s School of Theology graduates, whose hometown was in Iloilo, wrote to ask for help, said Sim. The volunteers consisted of both church members and non-members, and every team included medical professionals.
The main work carried out was via the mobile medical clinics, a consistent feature for all the trips made. The teams tended to people hurt during the typhoon, as well as provided medication for the chronically ill—hospitals had been destroyed in the disaster and medication was unavailable to them.
Besides providing medical aid, the teams also conducted outreach activities, especially to children and women. A prominent one was a Christmas Carnival in Estancia in December. The team gave away free food, games and prizes during the even that attracted 2,571 children. The carnival brought such hope and joy in a time of tragedy that even the local media in Estancia covered the event in their news reports.
The 11 teams were made up of 152 volunteers and staff. A total of 12,731 patients were treated, while a total of 17,480 lives were touched.
A missions team to the Philippines headed for Iloilo early this month week, from 5 to 9 June 2014. “This time the team went to give support in the church, to strengthen them as they get their lives back on track,” says Sim.