Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines with nearly unprecedented force—leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands impacted. In the wake of such a tragedy, people and organizations across the world were asking the question: “What can we do?”
How MAF is helping
Mission Aviation Fellowship sent disaster response personnel to the Philippines to assess the situation and determine the best way for the organization to respond.
“Once a disaster strikes, MAF’s team attempt to answer a host of questions to determine if MAF’s assistance is necessary and, if so, what the immediate and long-term ramifications of involvement are,” said John Woodberry, MAF’s manager of security and disaster response.
MAF leadership determined the best course of action in the Philippines was to collaborate with New Tribes Mission and assist other organizations in reaching remote islands in that might otherwise be overlooked. Last weekend the MAF/NTM team delivered some 1.5 tons of rice to remote communities. They also distributed tarps to those whose homes have been destroyed, for use in creating temporary shelters.
For MAF, this strategic decision means resources are being put to the best use.
What can churches and individuals do?
It is important for churches and individuals to approach disasters like Haiyan by asking questions about how they can make the biggest and most positive impact on survivors and their communities.
• Partner with an organization sending food and clothes. Sending food and clothing directly to an area can seem like a great idea, but without the assistance of an organization with people on the ground, who know the situation, the food can go to waste, the clothes can create an unneeded burden, and both can possibly do more damage than good. Organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, Baptist Global Response, or the Philippines Red Cross are directly involved in helping feed and clothe victims of Haiyan.
• Wait for volunteer opportunities to be identified. Another tendency is to want to pack up and immediately head to the location to help as a volunteer. While good-intentioned, it is much better to wait until volunteer opportunities have been identified and take part in the longer recovery process. This allows for volunteers to be put to the best use without creating unnecessary stress for the immediate disaster responders on site.
• Give through an organization or local church. Research done by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute found that “one of the most effective ways to help after a disaster is to make financial contributions to recognized aid organizations. Financial contributions make sure that the right assistance is available at the right time.”
You can help MAF make an immediate impact on survivors of Haiyan. Donate at www.maf.org/donate/disaster-response.