Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the efforts of its partner, Iglesia Filipina Independentiente (IFI, or Philippine Independent Church), to provide emergency relief following Tropical Storm Washi. The storm, which hit the island nation in the early hours of the morning on December 17, killed 1,257 people and left over 400,000 displaced; more than 37,000 people are still residing in evacuation centers.
Relying primarily on community and diocesan support, IFI is providing shelter and other emergency relief to approximately 1,000 storm-impacted families in their diocese. This assistance includes food and household items, as well as First Aid care and medical referrals. IFI is also providing access to clean water at the evacuation center, which is especially important in the context of the current outbreak of leptospirosis, a potentially deadly disease that is caused by drinking contaminated water.
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Episcopal Relief & Development's primary partner in the country, is also using local funding to provide emergency relief in impacted areas. This work is being done collaboratively with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
"Our partners in the Philippines are focusing on mobilizing local resources to provide relief assistance at this time, following Tropical Storm Washi," said Episcopal Relief & Development Program Officer Nagulan Nesiah. "We are pleased to provide emergency funds to support IFI's relief efforts, and we encourage continued prayers for those whose lives have been disrupted by destruction and loss."
In addition to disaster relief, Episcopal Relief & Development also supports development initiatives through its long-term partner, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. These programs focus mainly on alleviating hunger, improving the food supply and creating economic opportunities in rural areas, while working within communities to promote gender equality and empower young people.
"Sometimes relief and development are seen as opposing forces, but development is what makes community-based relief, like what's happening now in the Philippines, possible. Through programs that increase leadership capability and build infrastructure, we are helping to equip communities to respond to disasters quickly and work effectively toward rebuilding and recovery."