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Week of Disasters in Asia-Pacific Region

With multiple natural disasters striking the Asia-Pacific region this week, Episcopal Relief & Development is responding through its program partners in the Philippines, Samoa and Indonesia.

On September 26, Typhoon Ketsana pounded the Philippines, including the Metro Manila region, with a month’s worth of rain in just six hours. The resulting floods have killed an estimated 240 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.

Episcopal Relief & Development will support the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI, or Philippine Independent Church), which is in full communion with the Episcopal Church US. According to the Office of the Obispo Maximo (head bishop), many IFI churches, particularly in the Dioceses of Rizal and Pampanga, have become evacuation sites. Numerous churches have also had members impacted.

"The IFI is planning to focus on several thousand families in the hardest-hit areas near its churches," said Julie Petrie, Program Officer for Asia at Episcopal Relief & Development. "Priests and lay volunteers will use churches as bases to distribute essential food and water, along with medicine, blankets and clothing as possible, to low-income communities in Metro Manila."

Target cities for the distributions include Pasig, Taguig, Mandaluyong, Malabo, and Marikina, where at least five church members lost their lives.

The Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) is Episcopal Relief & Development’s primary program partner. With local diocesan support, ECP is partnering with Trinity University and St. Luke’s Medical Center to respond with medical care and other critical supplies. Churches in areas such as Quezon City, which has not received much relief, are providing food and cleaning materials to affected members and the local community.

On Tuesday, an earthquake-triggered tsunami killed at least 119 people in Samoa. "We are working with the Anglican Board of Mission-Australia to support several ecumenical church agencies in responding to immediate relief needs, including food, clothing and medical supplies," said Nagulan Nesiah, Episcopal Relief & Development Program Officer for Asia.

In Indonesia, the death toll is 770 and rising from a 7.9-magnitude earthquake and two smaller quakes that struck Wednesday and Thursday. Church World Service (CWS) and Action by Churches Together (ACT) are responding to the earthquakes. The two organizations also have partnerships in Cambodia and Vietnam, which have been affected by Typhoon Ketsana.

"In addition to supporting the efforts in the Philippines, Indonesia and Samoa, Episcopal Relief & Development is maintaining contact with our program partners responding to the multiple disasters and evaluating possibilities for further assistance," said Nesiah.

To support Episcopal Relief & Development’s disaster relief efforts, please donate online to the Disaster Response Fund at, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States. As an independent 501(c) (3) organization, Episcopal Relief & Development takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Together with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners, Episcopal Relief & Development strengthens communities today to meet tomorrow’s challenges. We rebuild after disasters and empower people by offering lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

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