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Disaster Response in the Philippines

Story by Sean Atkins. Photos by Ethnos 360.

MAF is partnering with a mission organisation in the Philippines to support a Disaster Response effort following the impact of Typhoon Doksuri.

Our DR team is working remotely with Ethnos 360, formerly New Tribes Mission, with a contribution from the DR fund to cover the cost of several flights on the Ethnos helicopter to assist in the airlift of foodstuffs to communities cut off due to landslides.

While not making direct landfall, rain from the typhoon has caused landslides in the north of Luzon province blocking roads and damaging bridges.

Remote areas have been isolated from usual supply chains by this disaster. These communities lack the resilience and resources to bring in the needed supplies.

Doksuri, also known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Egay, arrived ahead of the harvest and at a time when rice from the last harvest was nearly used up.

Newer missionaries to the area, Alex and Erin Williams, serving with New Tribes Church Planters of the Philippines, knew they needed to help but were unsure what the real needs would be.

After talking to Rudy Barlaan, a missionary working with the Isnag people since 1971, a connection was made with a teacher in Calanasan, Poblacion. Alex and Erin were informed of food relief being available there in Poblacion but there was no way to transport it.

Coordinating with the mayor of Calanasan, Shamir M. Bulut, a plan was made to bring 180 relief packs to Butao.

After Ryan de Roos, pilot with Ethnos360 Aviation, and Alex Williams flew to Tubongan Bible Church to deliver 200 kilos of rice, they hopped over the mountains on a five-minute flight to Calanasan to retrieve the relief packs bound for Butao.

In contrast, first responders had been hiking for two days to reach Butao and had only made it two-thirds of the way.

These deliveries bring more than just a few days of food; they bring relief and reassurance that help is coming, and that these people are not forgotten.

“It is great to be a part of something where people are helped immediately, and the love of God is shown so clearly. Our ability to help so quickly will be remembered,” Alex said.

“Lord willing, it will be used to bring the people of Calanasan to understand who God is and what He has done for them.”

During a visit to the office of the Municipal Mayor, the Ethnos 360 aviation team were commended for their prompt action and dedication.

Their primary focus has been on transporting essential supplies, stranded individuals, and personnel to Barangays Butao, Kabugawan, Namaltugan, and Langnao, where relief operations have been challenging due to the widespread damage.

The typhoon hit the region in late July and the Disaster Response, supported by MAF, commenced on August 1.

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