Filipino United Methodists are picking up the pieces after three strong typhoons pummeled the Philippines in less than three weeks.
The latest, Typhoon Vamco (Ulysses), rolled through Nov. 12, leaving millions without power and many stranded on the northern island of Luzon. Major flooding affected Metro Manila and its suburbs.
The Rev. Fely Dela Cruz, district superintendent from the Metro District of the Rizal Philippines East Conference, said San Mateo United Methodist Church has 200 evacuees, and she is continuing to seek updates from leaders and laity from other churches within the Marikina area, noting that many of the roads are impassable.
“United Methodists are still on the roof waiting for rescue,” she said.
The Rev. Michelle Dela Cruz, district superintendent of Aurora in the Middle Philippines, said her area has been devastated.
“So many houses were damaged. The towns of Baler, Dipaculao and San Luis were severely damaged,” Dela Cruz said.
She said she helped rescue children whose houses are by the river. “The kids are now in the district parsonage,” she said, adding that there are six children, with the youngest only 11 months old.
Some church workers also have been evacuated and the roofs of their houses were blown off, she added.
The new typhoon struck as many were still cleaning up from Super Typhoon Goni, known as Rolly in the Philippines, which made landfall on Nov. 1.
The Rev. Fely Dela Cruz said 50 families were affected in Lobo, in the province of Batangas, and at least 20 houses were destroyed or partially destroyed.
“Our small mission chapel totally collapsed and there is no possibility (for it) to be used as a worshipping place every Sunday,” she said, noting that the mission is part of The United Methodist Church Upon the Rock in Mandaluyong City.
Typhoon Rolly, the strongest storm so far this year, killed at least 17 and affected more than 2 million people. A week before Rolly, Typhoon Quinta devastated parts of the country.