Tropical Storm Ketsana poured more than 13 inches of rain on the Philippines during one six-hour period – roughly the equivalent of a month’s rainfall. (Photo: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory)
Washington, DC (BWA) --Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), is coordinating relief efforts to the Philippines and Indonesia after these countries were badly affected by a typhoon and earthquakes, respectively.
A team from BWAid Rescue24, the rescue and recovery arm of BWAid, is in the Philippines and is working with Baptists in that Southeast Asian country. The main island of Luzon bore the brunt of Typhoon Ketsana which made landfall on Sept. 26, and has killed approximately 250 people at the time of reporting. Another powerful typhoon is expected to affect the nation on Saturday, Oct. 3.
A second BWAid Rescue24 team is in Padang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra after the island was affected by strong tremors on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. At the time of reporting, at least 1,100 people were killed as a result of the earthquakes, with thousands more trapped in collapsed buildings. Indonesian Baptists are organizing volunteers and coordinating relief and rescue operations.
The Rescuer24 teams, which are coordinated by Hungarian Baptist Aid, consist of doctors, rescuers and dog handlers, and include volunteers from Singapore, Hungary, Germany and the United States.
Baptists from Hawaii and New Zealand are offering assistance to the Pacific islands of Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga after tsunamis, which resulted from earthquakes, caused widespread devastation and death.
Approximately 189 people have been killed, most of them in Samoa, but the death toll is expected to rise as entire villages were destroyed by the giant waves. At least four Baptists on American Samoa have died -- three members of the Samoa Korean Baptist Church, and one from First Chinese Church of American Samoa.
The Hawaiian Pacific Baptist Convention is preparing to send a team of 15 persons to American Samoa to operate a mobile or field kitchen and to offer chaplaincy services.
The Chinese Baptist Convention of Taiwan, which itself is recovering from the effects of typhoon Morakot, which affected that country in August, has sent $20,000 to the Luzon Baptist Convention of the Philippines to help with relief efforts for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana.
Pledges of assistance have been received from the Baptist Church of Mizoram in India, the Japan Baptist Union, and the Okinawa Baptist Convention of Japan, as well as from Baptists in Malaysia, South Korea and Australia.
Indonesian authorities have expressed gratitude to BWAID Rescue24. In a letter dated Oct. 2, the Indonesian embassy in Budapest, Hungary, extends "sincere appreciation from the Government and People of the Republic of Indonesia to the Hungarian Baptist Aid and Baptist World Aid Rescue24 for the kind attention and initiative to provide assistance to the victims (of the earthquakes)."
The BWA and its affiliates continue to appeal to Baptists from across the globe to offer assistance. "We need your financial giving," pleaded Paul Montacute, director of BWAid. The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA, has made "appeals to Baptist partners in [the] Asia Pacific region for prayer support and generous contributions to respond to the needs arising due to natural calamities in [the] Asia Pacific region."
Assistance may be made at http://www.bwanet.org.