From September 9th to the 30th of 2013, armed conflict between MNLF rebels and the troops of the Philippine government resulted in the evacuation of civilians as homes were being burned. At the end of October, the number of dead was placed at 140, wounded 268, and the number affected at 20,810 families or 105,705 individuals currently in need both outside and inside evacuation centers. The number of homes totally damaged by the series of fires is 10,160 homes.
Our local partners, the Philippine Children’s Ministry Network sent an assessment team the last week of November and since Typhoon Haiyan struck Visayas, the situation in the evacuation camps has deteriorated with government resources being pulled elsewhere.
The main concern for us is the care and protection of children and helping them recover from trauma. We are holding an OperationSAFE child trauma camp in Zamboanga from December 26th to the 31st at Manpang Elementary School which functions as one of the evacuation centers. This will become a model and training for local church workers to continue psychosocial care for the children in the months ahead.
Do you know that penguins don’t or won’t fly? You might say, “Of course it can’t fly!”
But do you know that Pete the Penguin, who is the main character of our Operation SAFE Trauma Care Program, is now ready to fly?
The Operation SAFE Trauma Care Program was born to care for the children who suffered from the Sichuan Earthquake in China in 2008. And this program was also used for caring for children in Haiti and Tibet after disasters hit the respective regions. Presently this program is used for the children in Tohoku, Japan. And Pete the Penguin, who is working hard in Tohoku, is now ready to go to Asian countries as an ambassador of emotional care to the children in Asia.
I am currently writing this article in Bali, Indonesia where I am hosting a Leadership Training Seminar for Operation Safe Trauma Care. After hosting this session, I am going to Manila, Philippines and Seoul, Korea to give similar workshops. Then Pete is ready to go abroad.
Why is Pete invited to the Asian Countries? Is Pete’s job in Japan finished? NO! Pete will continue to work in Japan and CRASH Japan will continue to host the Operation SAFE Trauma Care Program in Tohoku and other parts of Japan mobilizing the volunteers and holding the workshops to deepen the knowledge and understanding of children’s emotional care. But should we monopolize Pete in Japan? The Lord commands us to “SHARE”. Therefore, we should not monopolize Pete in Japan and CRASH Japan is led to extend the Love of God to all the suffering children in the world. And by the guidance of God and the invitation of the people in Asia, CRASH Japan is introducing the Operation SAFE Trauma Care Program to those who needs the program.
The Operation SAFE Trauma Care Program is not only for the children who are suffering from the effects of natural disasters but also very useful for the children in the refuge camps and the slums who need the emotional care. Since there is no other emotional care programs for those children, the Operation SAFE Trauma Care Program is very much needed in Asia.
Pete the Penguin is now responding to the cries heard in Asia. Will you come and join our efforts to share the Love of God? We appreciate your prayers and support.
Operation Safe Leader / Rie Wilson
Christian Academy in Japan has designated new donations to the Love in Action fund to go to support OperationSAFE child trauma camps in the Philippines in response to Typhoon Haiyan. CAJ: Donate.
Headmaster Brian Vander Haak writes on his blog, “We know from experience that needs in the Philippines will linger far longer than most aid workers and the swell of donations will subside.” CAJ students were active from the very first days raising money in support of 2011 tsunami survivors in Japan and then followed up with volunteer teams who went to serve in Tohoku.
Their goal is to raise just over ¥400,000 to sponsor an entire camp of children to receive emotional first aid and trauma intervention in East Samar, one of the most heavily affected Philippine provinces. Each child can be sponsored for as little as ¥3,800.
Two pastors from the Philippine Children’s Ministry Network travelled last week to the city of Zamboanga in Mindanao where two months previously rebel forces burned portions of the city and up to ten thousand residents had lost their homes. They were sent to do assessment of needs and find appropriate partners and venues for OperationSAFE child trauma camps, visiting Barangays Santa Barbara, Lustre and Santa Catalina and the evacuation centre called the “Grandstand”. In the town proper, they interviewed children who were begging and discovered that they were evacuees from Rio Hondo where their homes were destroyed by the recent armed conflict.
Pastor Cesar Lubrico of Tondo Blessed Hope Bible Baptist Church asks for prayers, “Let’s pray that the childrens’ plight for home, food, education, and health are not set aside.” The crisis in Zamboanga has been dwarfed by this month’s typhoon that has affected millions in the Philippines, but the children’s needs still remain.
Interviews with both children and adults leads to the conclusion that their trauma is not over yet. The appearance of helicopters in the sky, the crash of a heavy falling object, thunder and ambulance sirens all trigger fright and apprehension.
Zamboanga, Mindanao will receive OperationSAFE child trauma camps in December. Please pray for the children and for those who are ministering to them.