Typhoon Yolanda On the Way

Trip Start Jun 28, 2013
Trip End Aug 25, 2014

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hello Everyone,

I am writing you tonight in haste, as I try to digest the day's chaos and get things in order for the coming days. We are currently preparing for Typhoon Yolanda, which is due to hit our region of the Philippines within the next 48 hours (http://weather.com.ph/announcements/super-typhoon-haiyan-update-number-006).

The Municipal Office notified Volunteer for the Visayans this afternoon that the Cangumbang Center will be fully utilized as an evacuation center during the ensuing typhoon and subsequent flooding which awaits us. They had a disaster planning meeting all afternoon and we are hoping to get an update from them in the morning regarding any assistance they need from us.

Although they advised VFV and myself to wait to bring supplies to the center and instruct the community members, I couldn't bring myself to fully trust their swift response so I took the necessary measures to allow me to sleep soundly at the very least.
As soon as work was over Carter and I squeezed through the aisles of the local grocery store stuffing a cart full of candles, matches, canned goods, and supplies needed at the center. After we waited in a line a mile long, my boss drove us to my apartment to fill up a collection of old water jugs we have been meaning to throw out (guess they were meant for something!). We filled up 8 jugs and then headed to Cangumbang.

The children were texting me all afternoon so they were aware I was coming and anxious to be consoled and reassured that everything would be OK. As soon as I opened the car door they swarmed me with worried squeals and hugs.

We took all the supplies upstairs and I explained to our caretaker Tatay Temo that he will have complete control over the supplies and keys to the center, and we need him to initiate any use of the supplies and the center when he sees fit. He is an older man, just over 60, with two teenage children so the evacuation procedures of his own home are routine and easy in comparison to many others. His son helped translate and once we were on the same page I moved on to some of the worried children.

My group of teen-aged translators and liaisons with their parents generation asked lots of questions of what they could bring and what they should do, and again after settling their hearts I was off to the next level...my two little boys. I gave Jon-Jon and John Joseph big hugs and a kiss and told them everything would be fine. Their older sister said their mother is supposed to be coming tomorrow, and I will not hestitate to bombard her with texts because clearly her children need her the most now.

I spoke with Nanay Elay on the way out to make sure she too was aware of all the expectations since she acts as such a wise woman for the whole community.

In the end, I know if things are bad and I want to bring supplies to Cangumbang, I can always go directly to the Municipal Office and request usage of their boat to deliver them. But still I am concerned for their safety and preparedness. And also for the sake of the recent harvest I hope the floods don't reach the expected height. All of the families currently have highly valuable sacks of rice in their homes waiting to be sold or consumed which will be destroyed if the flood consumes them.

Estimates range from 2 meters to over 4 meters in depth. Our center sits just a smidgen above 4 meters. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the People of Cangumbang and to the Ark itself. This is a major test for the project.

At this moment I am more thankful for the donors than ever, because surely this flood will be easier than the last.

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Victoria on

Thinking of you all with a very positive mind xxx

Sawa on

Can the families take the rice sacks to the center for "storage" so the harvest is not lost? I obviously have no idea of the magnitude of the number of sacks, but they could always be used for temporary seats, right? Lots of prayers coming your way!

rbush on

Sending prayers.

Polly Lindsay on

Dearest Angel of God, Elsa,>>>My heart is wrapped around you and your entire village family. I know your faith will keep you strong, allowing the strength and poise you evidence to bolster the faith and confidence of all those in your presence. May Almighty God have mercy on the entire region threatened, and the Peace -n- Love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, your family, friends, and each person who follows your brave and selfless service to the less fortunate of our fellow human beings. We are with you sweet Elsa. I for one, wish I could be there contributing as well.

Pati Miers on

God bless you, Elsa! Praying for you and the community.

Ok on

Prayers for you and the kids.. Please be safe..

marika24 on

ive been checking for new entry from you dear.... hope all of you are alright.

Mom on

For those of you checking this and wanting news of Elsa. She just was able to call home. She is safe in Cebu, she's just left Tacloban where she's been helping since the storm. She has been out to Cangumbang several times and taken food, water and medicine. Everyone there survived the storm, a miracle! The roof of the center was torn off and beams are bent but right now materials to repair it are not available. She will update this as soon as she has time.

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