On Tuesday, December 3rd, Filipino church planters in Albay and Sorsogon provinces started sending texts. Typhoon Kammuri (known locally as Typhoon Tisoy) was hitting them hard. Then the texts stopped coming. The storm had taken out the transmitting abilities of telecommunications companies.
Two weeks after the storm, I visited the area. Everyone compared the storm to the pair which caused massive destruction in October and November 2006. It sounded like a fleet of jets landing on their roof. Its powerful winds blew for eight hours, a sign of how slowly it was moving. The backside of the storm was much worse than its front side. Its flood waters reached some of their houses; others marveled that it brought no rain to their area.
All were thankful that the storm stayed up high. The October 2006 storm rushed through, close to the ground, destroying everything in its path. Kammuri caused major damage in coastal communities where it made landfall. But inland, it seemed to have selected areas to batter. It made us wonder if it had dropped to a lower altitude when passing through those places.
I visited some of those selected areas. As expected, banana trees were wiped out. Houses made of light materials sustained major damage, and some were destroyed. Tall trees were uprooted. Although still standing, most coconut trees had lost their nuts, and their branches were twisted up. Most of the families I visited were still without electricity. Only one of the telecommunications companies had restored its services.
I had heard that Kammuri caused unique damage in northwest Albay. I visited four of its towns. The power of the typhoon had twisted power poles. It had twisted and ripped large branches out of tall trees. Even elderly Bikolanos, who have seen as many typhoons as they have months, spoke of the fear that this storm stirred in them.
ABCCOP (the association of churches we helped start and now partner with) sent aid to Bikol as soon as it could. OMF was able to provide some of the funds it distributed. That money helped people rebuild their houses and/or livelihoods. Please join us in praying for them as they slowly get back to their normal life.
By Andy Smith, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for the Philippines?
- For affected residents as they slowly get back to their normal life.
- For authorities as they respond to the aftermaths of such disasters. On average, 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippines’ Area of Responsibility, 10 of which will be typhoons, with five having the potential to be destructive ones.
- For relief funds to be made available whenever there is a need, e.g. when there is a natural or man-made disaster.