Relief for Isla Puting Bato Survivors

TONDO, Manila — One tragedy after another can drive any woman to her limits. Death of a loved one, burned properties and livelihood—these are too much for a widow to take.

Nanay Nena patiently lined up and waited for her turn at Operation Blessing’s relief distribution as thousands of fire evacuees sheltered at the jampacked Delpan Sports Complex. Grieving on losing her beloved husband, the poor widow felt her hope began to diminish.

“I don’t know how and where I should start. Losing my husband felt like my whole world had stopped. I am completely devastated,” she said between sobs as she tried to remember the fire that razed their homes at Isla Puting Bato and claimed her husband’s life.

“Everybody was panicking and they were rushing straight for a safer place,” said Nanay Nena, who was visibly still in shock. “But my husband hurriedly ran back to our home to save our banca. He got trapped and suffocated inside.”

More than relief goods, Nanay Nena needed a listening ear and a thoughtful prayer, something Operation Blessing volunteer counselors gladly provided. She was able to pour out her innermost burdens and unload her traumatic experiences to God through the counselors. Her weary and gloomy face brightened as she found renewed hope and inner peace.

“The prayer lightened my heart. I can now start all over again, and I really thank you for your help!” she happily exclaimed. “Through your words of encouragement, I know that with God’s grace, we can survive this.”

Hope Restored

In the mere seconds that the huge flames began engulfing the urban poor community of Isla Puting Bato, Marites didn’t look back, leaving her house and belongings consumed by the massive fire.

“It just happened very fast. Everybody was screaming and scrambling for safety. I didn’t know what to do, so I also panicked and ran outside. I really thank God because my kids were at school when the fire broke out,” Marites shared, recalling the terrifying event.

“I was disheartened by what had happened. I really don’t know how to start our new life from scratch.”

Good thing that Operation Blessing was one of the humanitarian groups who responded to the tragedy, proving once more that it is always ready to help by sharing hope and love to those who are in need.

See Operation Blessing in action in Tondo. View their Flickr album HERE.

Korea Food for the Hungry International opened its doors to help Operation Blessing repack relief goods. Volunteers and counselors introduced the love of Jesus Christ to the people by giving them encouragement through prayers and listening to their burdens. As the group immersed in the area, hope is evidently seen returning in everyone’s eyes.

Marites, along with many evacuees, prayed to commit their lives to Jesus. They were also reminded that despite of what had happened, God always has a plan and purpose for them.

“Seeing the volunteers’ smiles gives me the strength to continue. Thank you for the goods that my family received. This is really a big help!” Marites happily said after she received her relief pack containing clothing, drinking water, and a hygiene kit—all donated by partners of Operation Blessing.

Over 950 affected families in Isla Puting Bato were grateful Operation Blessing paid them a visit—a visit that resurrected their hope out of the ashes.

MORE THAN JUST RELIEF GOODS

Because of debilitating calamities, it would be hard for evacuees to return to their normal lives. But with the help from faithful partners like YOU, Operation Blessing can bring hope and smiles to our affected kababayans!

Call Operation Blessing’s Manila trunkline at (02) 477-7802 to 04 to know how you can partner with us. | by Bryan Arquiza, Operation Blessing

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