Posts Tagged ‘Storm’

A Shelter In Their Time of Storm

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

We all remember Hurricane Katrina. Not the largest storm to ever reach the US mainland, nor the strongest, yet how can we forget the apocalyptic scenes and trail of destruction it left behind; an entire metropolis in ruins and a country in shock. Then just about a year ago, Sandy came and again we witnessed more destruction and ruin, even in places usually safe from such phenomenon.

Satellite view of typhoon Haiyan

Satellite view of Typhoon Haiyan

The Philippines is a very poor nation made up of a little over 7,000 small islands, situated in what geologists call the Ring of Fire. It is also home to over 30 active volcanoes. Earthquakes and powerful storms are common in this part of the world and the Filipino people have learned to cope with it, yet no one could have prepared them for what befell them on November 8.

Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as the Filipinos named it, was something they had never seen before. Its sheer size and destructive power would move both Katrina and Sandy down the scale. It covered the entire archipelago and far beyond. Its destructive force knew no equal and spared no one. Now the country lies in ruins and millions of people, many of them women and children, are homeless.

Survivors sort through debris following Typhoon Haiyan http://www.flickr.com/photos/novefirenze/

Survivors sort through debris following Typhoon Haiyan — Photo: Nove foto da Firenze - Creative Commons license

As you know, International Children’s Care operates a village for orphaned and abandoned children in the Philippines. We came there in the late 90s because of the thousands of destitute children living in the streets. Fortunately the children’s village is located in the northern region, and away from the main brunt of the storm, and we are grateful to the Lord for that. But in all reality there was no safe place in the Philippines during this storm.

As servants of the children the Lord has entrusted to us, we feel a very strong sense of responsibility for them. We pray unceasingly for them. But we also think about the others, the unreached ones, the ones not inside our little cities of refuge. As Christians we know that life in this world of ours will only get worse. People are growing more evil, more selfish, and more calloused about the less fortunate. And what about terrible natural disasters like the one afflicting our Filipino brothers and sisters right now? The Bible tells us that those will also get worse.

A young girl makes her way through downed powerlines following Typoon Haiyan http://www.flickr.com/photos/novefirenze/10823475466/sizes/o/in/photostream/

A young girl makes her way through downed power lines following Typhoon Haiyan — Photo: Nove foto da Firenze — Creative Commons License

The eyes of the world are on the Philippines right now, and that is good. Humanitarian aid organizations are shipping resources and personnel to assist the needy. But what is going to happen when all these philanthropists leave after a few months? Who is going to care for the child who lost his mommy and daddy in the flood? Who is going to take her home and love her?

The physical storm has passed, but the real storm in the lives of the orphaned, the abandoned, and the homeless has only begun, a very long storm that may last the rest of their lives. And that’s where ICC comes in, becoming a shelter in their time of storm, not only in the Philippines, but in Congo, in India, in Guatemala and all the other countries where we are present.

We want to thank you today for being part of their family, for being that much needed shelter in their time of storm. Our hearts ache every time a child suffers, but we are also very grateful that with your help we can do something and offer them a loving hand. No, this world is not going to get any better. Worse things will happen and more and more, children will be left homeless. Thank you for partnering with us today to make a difference.

Record Cold In Romania Brings Suffering.

Monday, February 13th, 2012

If you’ve seen recent news reports about the extreme winter weather in Europe you understand that the situation for many people is quite grim. It has recently taken a toll on ICC’s project in Romania as well. The campus greenhouse has been extensively damaged as a result of the heavy snowfall.

We don’t have information yet about the extent of the damage and whether or not the structure can be salvaged and repaired. We’ll pass along those details once they are available.

A photo of ICC Romania's greenhouse which collapsed under heavy snowfall in February 2012

ICC Romania's greenhouse which collapsed under record, heavy snowfall. To date, some areas of Romania have received 15 feet of snow.

A photo of the ICC Romania campus covered in snow

Taken on February 6, this photo shows about a foot of snow covering the ICC Romania campus. At the time this blog was posted the snow accumulation had reached three feet. More than 500 people have died in Eastern Europe during this record cold spell that has extended from Russia to England.

On Monday, February 13, Gabriela Costache sent an e-mail regarding the situation in Romania. Here is an excerpt:

The situation here is not good, it is snowing since yesterday and now the snow in the city of Buzau is about 1 meter… [It is] the same in Odobesti and all over the country. And the sad news is that it is going to snow until Thursday. Please, pray for Romania!

I hope God will protect the project. They have all they need and starting with tomorrow the schools are closed. They [the children] will stay home. They have enough bread and flour and yeast in case they cannot buy stuff, because now, with this situation, the food is very expensive.

All the routes are closed in the country and there are many people who died without food or drink.

Last week they changed the government… and during all this time, they didn’t have time for the people. Only this week-end they started to help…

Please pray for ICC’s project in Romania and especially for the children and staff as the struggle against this cold winter storm system.

Thank you,

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC

Violent Storm Damages Las Palmas Crops

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

We’ve received some disturbing news from Mario Lora, ICC’s business and farm manager at the Las Palmas Campus in the Dominican Republic. On Friday, May 27 an isolated and violent storm swept through the Las Palmas campus and caused extensive damage to the farm crops which had been growing in such abundance.

Weather forecasts had not predicted the storm, and it hit the campus unexpectedly and with terrific force. According to Mario, “Its radius of action was practically in our locality and towards the mountains. In fact, the nearby city of Bonao had no damage.

“We understand that it affected an area of about 10 square kilometers with us in the center. We haven’t heard anything about it on the news, and everyone who comes here is surprised when they see the destruction.

“In fact, one of the engineers in charge of the greenhouse project, when he came here was stunned because he didn’t know this had happened, and he was investigating a lot to see what happened. It was quick, only lasting about 20 to 25 minutes as a strong storm, and then the rain lasted for a long time afterward. There was no warning to prepare.”

Plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm destroyed by a focused storm.

Some of the destroyed plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm

About 2/3 of the plantain crop was damaged by the heavy winds and rain that accompanied the storm. Many of the trees were laden with plantains and according to Mario, “With a few exceptions, all trees that had stalks (bunches) of plantains fell to the ground. The stalks varied a lot, from ones that were just flowering to those that were ready to harvest.

Of the trees that didn’t have stalks, only a few fell to the ground, but a very small percentage. We think that about 2,500 plantain trees fell over. Each stalk has about 30 to 40 plantains, which at the current market price are worth between 5 and 7 pesos, so each stalk is worth about 150 pesos [$4.05]. When we multiply that by 2,500 trees, it comes out to a loss of about 375,000 pesos [$10,135]. Also, we were left with about 1,250 trees which will start flowering in the next three months.”

The loss of the trees means more than the loss of the crop. A tree can produce several crops, plus they produce other “children” – small trees that grow up to the next generation. Mario, the staff and children at Las Palmas have quickly started the process of rehabilitating trees that can be salvaged and planting new trees.

Mario states that, “when we plant a new crop it takes about 8 or 9 months to start producing.” One piece of good news is that the project already has enough seeds to do the replanting and together with rehabilitating the damaged trees, the project should be able to expand the crop. This will have to wait until the rains allow the workers to prepare the land.

Plantains are a staple crop at the children’s village. This loss will certainly impact the project. Mario continues. “Of the production that we had projected, we consume almost the entire crop. What was happening at this moment was that as the plantains would get ripe we would cut them for use in the homes. They were not all ready to cut at the same time. In fact, many times we have had to cut them before they were really ready because of the needs in the homes.”

One of the other important crops at Las Palmas is Yucca. Mario estimated that perhaps 30% to 40% was affected. Since Yucca are tubers, it’s difficult to say at this time what the effect of the storm may be. However, there was significant damage to the plants themselves and the tubers may rot or not develop normally.

Garden vegetables were also hit hard, and according to Mario, “everything we had was ruined.” The house father and children of house 4 on the Las Palmas campus had put forth dedicated effort to supply the homes with vegetables. Mario estimates that this was valued at the equivalent of $135 per week so over the next 8 weeks as they wait for new crops to mature, they’ll need to spend about $1,080 to replace what was lost.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm

There are some bright spots in all this discouraging news. All the children and staff escaped unharmed. Praise God for that! Also, the sweet potato, corn and pineapple crops were not damaged. As well, there is something telling about how Mario describes the attitude of the staff and children on campus. “What has impressed me the most in all this,” he states, “is the good spirit that exists among the employees and the kids. We can see complete unity in order to reestablish, with God’s help and our efforts, what has been damaged. We have courage to continue on as long as the Lord gives us the strength.”

We’re pleased to report that when the Versacare Foundation heard about this tragedy, they immediately provided a donation of $10,000 to help with this food emergency. What a blessing this is! Additional funds are needed, and if you would like to help, please mark your donation “Las Palmas Farm and Food Fund.” It will directly assist with this need.

Thank you for your generous support.

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC