By Formosa Relief Team (Originally in Chinese)
On January 18, 2014, the Philippines was struck by Tropical Storm Lingling (Agaton) which caused 70 deaths and left nine people missing. The storm affected more than 1.14 million people, completely or partially destroyed over 3,480 houses, and caused an estimated PHP 566,714,173 (US$12.5 million) in damages.
Upon receiving the news of the disaster, Supreme Master Ching Hai immediately allocated a US$10,000 relief fund and instructed our Association Members to render aid. Our relief team departed quickly, and arrived on January 23 in Butuan, which is in the northeastern Agusan del Norte Province on Mindanao Island in southern Philippines where Tropical Storm Lingling made its first landing. Although the Social Welfare Department was thankful for our team’s arrival, they informed us that the city’s victims were already being cared for. They re-directed us to the neighboring Agusan del Sur Province where more severe damage was reported.
After a three-hour drive, we came to Agusan del Sur Provincial Government Office. When Provincial Administrator Jesusimo L. Ronquillo saw the yellow vests we were wearing, he remembered that our Association members had provided aid for a similar disaster two years ago. He instructed his assistant to help us in the relief effort in the days to come.
The city of Esperanza suffered the most severe damage. More than 3,000 families were desperately in need of daily necessities. Thanks to the caring help from the Social Welfare Department, we were able to buy rice at a great discount at the National Food Authority. Other supplies purchased included sugar, soy sauce, soap, as well as candies and cookies for children. With God’s grace, all the supplies were purchased within one day.
On January 25, nearly 30 local volunteers came to help pack all the relief supplies. When we arrived at the distribution center with snacks, the volunteers graciously greeted us. Vice Governor Santiago B. Cane, Jr. of Agusan del Sur Province also came to the center to express his gratitude to Master for providing aid when it was needed the most.
We left for Esperanza on January 26 with the relief items. Driving over the bumpy roads, we saw that some villages were still flooded and the villagers’ situation was worrisome.
Upon arriving at Esperanza, Mayor Deo P. Manpatilan, Jr. led us to different villages to distribute supplies. He told us, “Your arrival has brought us hope and put smiles on the villagers’ faces again.” Together with Mayor Manpatilan, we distributed 3,000 parcels of relief supplies to the affected people.
We were touched watching the children’s faces light up with smiles. The people thanked us with their newly learned Chinese word “Xie Xie” (thank you). When all the supplies were distributed, the mayor expressed his sincere gratitude to Master and our Association once again.
As we left for home, we thought about how the relief work had been accomplished smoothly over the last few days in God’s omnipresent love and blessing. Our hearts were touched beyond words.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai
for Typhoon Lingling Relief Work in the Philippines
|Food (rice, bread, soy sauce, sugar, cookies, candies, drinks and soup)||445,923||A-D|
|Packing material (bags)||5,177||A|
|Total|| PHP $451,100
Relief team members spent TWD 94,000 (US$3,110) of their own money to cover their transportation, accommodations and food costs.