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Super Typhoon Rai Rips Through the Philippines


Super Typhoon Rai pummelled the island nation of the Philippines from Dec. 16-17 with winds exceeding 265.5 km/h — causing major destruction and leaving at least 375 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Its devastating path disrupted the lives of millions of people in Southern Leyte, Surigao Del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Bohol, and Cebu. Landslides and flash floods that were responsible for much of the tragic loss of life also left thousands of houses destroyed. In addition, hundreds of towns lost power and locals anticipate it may take one to three months to restore service.

The Samaritan’s Purse country office in the Philippines began preparing a response even before the storm hit and quickly deployed 18 staff members who are now working with local church partners to meet the urgent needs of those suffering. We are providing emergency water and food, including rice, corned beef, canned goods, cooking oil, sugar, and salt. We also are supplying family kits (containing plates, cups, cooking pots, utensils, blankets, and a solar light) as well as hygiene packs and emergency shelter repair kits — with plans to reach thousands of families through these combined efforts.

While nearly 20 storms or typhoons generally hit the Philippines each year, many local reports consider the damage from Rai to be similar to that of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which claimed over 6,000 lives in Nov. 2013. Samaritan’s Purse has been working continuously in the Philippines since our initial 2013 disaster relief response.

Please pray for those affected by the storm and for Samaritan’s Purse staff members and partners as they serve them in Jesus’ Name.

Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 20 and has been updated as of Dec. 22.

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