Storm destroys homes of three CFCA youth
December 19, 2011
MANILA, Philippines ― A deadly storm that swept through Mindanao in the southern Philippines on Dec. 16 destroyed the homes of three youth in the CFCA program and caught thousands of the island's residents off guard.
News reports are calling Tropical Storm Washi (local name "Sendong") the deadliest storm of 2011, with the latest death toll at more than 900. No deaths or serious injuries among CFCA sponsored children or elderly have been reported.
The port cities of Cayagan de Oro and Iligan in northern Mindanao were hardest hit. Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island of the Philippines. More than 167,000 people were affected.
CFCA serves about 170 sponsored members and their families in the Cayagan area through its project in Zamboanga City. Most of the families live along the coast and earn a living through fishing and farming.
Rhodora Partosa from CFCA's Zamboanga project has been in contact with a CFCA social worker for the Cayagan community. The social worker is staying at the local CFCA office and was scheduled to meet with area leaders to assess the needs of the families.
"People were caught unaware since the heavy rainfall and strong winds happened from almost midnight up to 2 a.m. ... , which caused the large number of deaths," Partosa said. "Up to this day, there are still individuals who were rescued in the sea after two days of floating and uncertainty."
A Washington Post article attributed the large number of deaths to flash floods. A shortage of coffins at funeral parlors led authorities in Iligan City to conduct a mass burial of unidentified victims.
About 45,000 children, youth and aging members are sponsored through CFCA in the Philippines; 3,600 of them are served through the Zamboanga project.
More information will be posted as it becomes available. Please keep the people of Mindanao and all residents of the Philippines in your prayers.