Photos top left to right 1. Flooding Marikina River out Window of Missionaries Apartment 2. People Under Umbrellas Watching as Water Rises in Marikina 3. Boat to Rescue Stranded Members in Provident Ward 4. Bags of Food Packaged by Volunteers at the Area Office 5. Flooded Homes Along Marikina River
August proved to be a disastrous month for Metro-Manila. Within two days, we quickly had a "water" problem to match that of Ondoy in 2009. Seven sets of our young missionaries had to move into their respective Mission Homes, as their apartments were completely submerged. Eight of our chapels were under water. Sixty chapels of the Church were used as evacuation centers for members and non-members alike. Thousands of members dawned their yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests and began packing food and hygiene kits for distribution to affected families. For most of the people living in Metro-Manila, it was Typhoon Ondoy (2009) revisited! From the evening of August 6th to the afternoon of August 7th, 24 inches of rain fell…that is double the amount of rain that fell during Typhoon Katrina in the U.S.
Once again the area of Marikina became a rolling river. This is the area that we drive through every Sunday to go to our branch in Malaya. It is so sad to see the water, but even worse is when the water recedes leaving behind several feet of muddy sludge in everything! The people of the Philippines deal with these disasters every year…in 2011 the Philippines had more natural disasters than any country in the world! It's easy to see why it is so difficult for these people to get out from under the poverty.
It has been such an experience to see the Church in action. In response to this disaster, the Church immediately released relief funds to buy food, sleeping mats, blankets, and hygiene kits. Volunteers were called for…we were hoping for 150, but almost 400 showed up…it was amazing to see. Then a couple of days later we needed more volunteers and once again they came…so happy to be able to help. This has truly been an eye-opening and humbling experience.