The Philippines: Episcopal Relief is in for the long haul

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Sean McConnell writes about the 3-fold strategy in the face of disasters by Episcopal Relief and Development:

When Typhoon Haiyan struck, a colleague and I were packing our bags for a visit with our partners in the Philippines. Initially, it wasn’t clear if the typhoon would set things back since the Philippines experience around 20 typhoons a year, and as a result have built a capacity for responding resiliently in their wake. So, we were cautiously on stand-by until it became clear yesterday that our visit might be more hindrance than help. By the time the typhoon hit, I had already posted to Facebook that I was departing for the Philippines, so friends and colleagues naturally reached out to find out how Episcopal Relief & Development would respond. I explained that Episcopal Relief & Development takes the long view on disasters response and recovery. This makes sense if you know what we mean by three Rs of Disasters: Rescue, Relief and Recovery.

Currently, for Typhoon Haiyan, we are in the “Rescue” phase. All hands are on deck to help save lives and property. This phase involves finding and treating the immediate medical needs of survivors and stabilizing ongoing hazards, such as shifting buildings. This type of work is best left to the pros ­– government and military search-and-rescue teams. …

The next phase is the “Relief” phase, when the focus turns to creating short-term safe and sanitary conditions. The church is often one of the first places people go to seek assistance and shelter. Right now, our partners are coordinating with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines to assess and prepare a response to these types of needs. The “Relief” phase typically lasts a few months.

Eventually, we get to the third and final phase: “Recovery.” During recovery the emphasis shifts to restoring services, repairing houses and buildings, returning individuals to self-sufficiency and rebuilding communities. The challenge of the “Recovery” phase is that most of the television cameras have moved on, but in many cases, the human suffering has grown. It is a chronic state, not a crisis. This however is the phase that Episcopal Relief & Development and its worldwide partners excel at. Whether we are in Haiti, Colorado or the Philippines, we work closely with the churches that are part of the fabric of these communities. As such, we get to know the needs intimately alongside those who understand how best to meet them.

Read more here.

Donations to aid rescue, relief and recovery can be made at the website or by check to:

Episcopal Relief & Development

P.O. Box 7058

Merrifield, VA 22116-7058

More resources here.

The Presiding Bishop released this statement today, see below

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offers the following prayer for the people of the Philippines:

O God our help in time of trouble, we pray for the Filipino people who have suffered this grievous natural disaster. We pray that survivors may find water, food, and shelter, and news of their missing loved ones. There is trauma and destruction in many places, and little news from some of the areas hardest hit. Give peace and confidence, O Lord, to those in the midst of the whirlwind. Open hearts and hands around the world to respond sacrificially to the urgent need. Help us to remember that we are connected, one to another, the living to the dead, the comfortable to the suffering, the peaceful to the worried and anxious. Motivate us to change our hearts, for our misuse and pollution of the earth you have given us to share has something to do with this disaster. Show us your suffering Son in the midst of this Calvary, that we might love one another as he has loved us. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Statement and prayers from the Archbishop of Canterbury here.

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