TYPHOON ODETTE RESPONSE
A Crisis Assessment Visit to Southern Leyte
On December 21, 2021 the Sisters Servants of the Visitation made a mission trip to the devastated area of Southern Leyte hit by Super Typhoon Odette on December 18th. SR. Rubi., SSV and Sr. Jennelyn, SSV made the 7 hour trip in two vans loaded with aid supplies to reach the victims of the typhoon who lost everything in the storm. Sr. Rubi reports the scenes were of complete devastation with villages completely wiped out, no shelter left, little food, little clean water, and children begging for food along the road. The first area they stopped was Maasin in search of the family of an SSV Sister, Sr. Maravic, SSV in hope they were alive and their home was spared. The Sisters found the family intact living in a makeshift lean-to shelter with tarps for cover but everyone was safe, thanks be to God..
The SSV Sisters toured the area and made contact with the parish priest to assess how many families were in need and how they may assist in the future. Sr. Rubi and Sr. Jennelyn organized a gift giving of personal care items, tarps, eating utensils, and food they had packed with the help of the Ain Karim children and girls the night before. They also brought candy treats for the children to ease their anxiety. Red and white striped bags are a welcome sight in a crisis in the Philippines- no matter where the help is coming from- the first portion of aid from fellow citizens and volunteers most often comes in a red and white striped bag. The Sisters were also able to hand out baby blankets for the Guardians of the Visitation's Great Baby Blanket Project, giving moms new baby blankets and baby clothes for the smallest victims.
The trip allowed the SSV Sisters to plan for a return mission. Sr. Rubi reports the most immediate need is for cooking and eating utensils, and tarps to create shelter from the sun nd the night and food. With two days until the Nativity of Our Lord it was very difficult to see how far reaching and complete the total destruction of villages and communities, loss of livelihoods, flooding of farmland, and disruption of utilities and infrastructure impacting families, especially the vulnerable elderly and infirmed. Please keep the people of Southern Leyte in your prayers this Christmas as they begin to piece their communities back together, May the Light of the Christ child shine brightly on them and Our Mother of the Visitation protect all suffering from effects of Typhoon Odette.