NOVEMBER 14, 2013 | PHILIPPINES
MANILA, Philippines—Super Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Philippines), one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, ripped through the Philippines on November 8, 2013.
As of November 13, 2013, the Philippines branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Manila reported that 27 Witnesses have been confirmed dead. Well over 100 homes of the Witnesses and five places of worship were destroyed.
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is coordinating the international disaster response from their world headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. As part of these arrangements, the Philippines branch office has been making efforts to deliver food, water, medicine, and other supplies into the affected areas. By Sunday, November 10, about ten vans filled with relief supplies had been delivered, with additional trucks being dispatched the following day.
The region has had little time to recover from the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that shook the Philippines on October 15, 2013, killing 218 people. Reports indicate that the massive quake claimed the lives of three of Jehovah’s Witnesses, one in a landslide and two more when their homes collapsed. The earthquake came on the heels of Typhoon Nari, which struck the Philippines on October 12, 2013, killing at least 13 people.
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses cares for expenses related to their relief efforts by utilizing funds donated to their worldwide work. The Governing Body also assesses the need for skilled volunteers, and works with their global network of branch offices to provide qualified personnel to assist with disaster relief work in cooperation with local authorities and other relief agencies.
Dean Jacek, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Philippines, stated: “We are all deeply grieved over the extensive loss of life caused by these recent catastrophes. There is a great need for comfort in view of the destruction as well as the trauma to the victims. We will continue to do our best to provide ongoing relief and spiritual assistance to our friends and neighbors.”
International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000
Philippines: Dean Jacek, tel. +63 2 411 6090