This past weekend Typhoon Sendong struck the southern Philippines island of Mindinao causing the deaths of nearly 700 people with more than 800 additional people still missing. Recovery efforts are underway. The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines is centered in Dumaguete City on the island of Negros, somewhat further north. Although it was not entirely spared from the typhoon, damage has been less severe there. The President of the UU Church of the Philippines, Rev. Rebecca Sienes, sent the following message on Sunday:
Good morning to all! We are well... Yes, tropical storm Sendong hit Dumaguete City last Saturday. Rev. Nihal Attanayake (Faith in Action Department Director) left for field work Friday afternoon. I was in the Church on Saturday to help [a minister with a previously scheduled medical appointment]. After putting them to the hospital, the rain became very strong, and I decided to go home... I was driven to Sibulan, and we kept on looking for passable road because the City limit creek is not passable anymore. Many vehicles were stranded. Luckily we found a passable road, yet he could not drive me directly to where I live because of heavy flooding. He dropped me off about a kilometer away from my home. From the national highway, I asked a man to walk with me waddling in waist high water, but when I got to the security post of my subdivision, the guard did not allow me to proceed because the water around my area is deep. I became very worried, and finally another man helped me through the waters-- indeed very strong flowing water down to my house. I felt so relieved when [my daughter-in-law and grandchildren] sought refuge in a nearby house that is built on a higher level. Almost 50 people were there. The water in the house was above knee deep. Appliances [and books]were damaged.It was a very scary experience I had with flooding waters. I was scared yet very determined to be home with my family. WE ARE SAFE. So far, I have not heard of any untoward incidents among UUs related to typhoon. Dumaguete City was declared under the state of calamity. The municipality of Valencia and Sibulan are severly hit by Sendong. I just want this to report to you. I will go home and rest. Thanks a lot, RebeccaThe UUA and partner churches will stay in touch with the UU Church of the Philippines in the days ahead as the recovery proceeds. In the mean-time, we have extended a message of support and solidarity to our colleagues in the Philipppines.