Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines just before Christmas. Among the many thousands of people affected were the Badjao community, who featured in our 2020 Christmas appeal. They, along with the Presentation Sisters who serve them, are struggling to rebuild after the disaster and need our prayers.
The Super Typhoon hit the Philippines with winds of 120mph on 22 December, affecting around 400,000 people -killing and injuring hundreds. Three weeks later there is still no power and very scarce access to clean drinking water.
An update from the Sisters
At Missio we had become concerned, as we had not heard from Sr Vic Vic or our friends in the Badjao community since the disaster. But yesterday we contacted Sr Neneth, a fellow Presentation Sister, who has just returned to Ireland from the Philippines. She brought this news of the community:
‘The Sisters and the Badjao community are okay but trying to cope very hard with the devastation. They lack safe drinking water at this stage, and they have no electricity. God knows when they cancome back from the devastation’.
Please join us to pray for the Sisters and the Badjao people at this time.
A history of hardship…
The typhoon is the latest blow for the Badjao people, whom you may remember from our Christmas appeal in 2020. As a community, they have historically been shunned and told they ‘have no value’. Many of the Badjao adults are unable to read or write; their access to education, healthcare and other basic necessities is severely limited at the best of times.
With help from Missio, Sr Vic Vic and the Presentation Sisters are working with this community to improve their lives, and the Badjao people themselves work hard to overcome these roadblocks and setbacks.
…then COVID-19 happened…
Traditionally the Badjao eke out a living from diving and fishing on the shores of Cebu City. But their fishing grounds were limited by the government, and waters polluted by city expansion. Many of them shifted to vending pearls at local resorts.
But with the advent of the pandemic, the Badjao people found themselves losing their livelihoods yet again, as resorts shut down and the tourism industry ground to a halt. Once again, the community rallied, and with help from the Sisters, they organised emergency care packages and health and safety training alongside continuing their education programmes.
…and now this
Typhoon Rai is the latest in a long line of heavy blows the Badjao have faced. The little infrastructure that was available has been destroyed and there is much rebuilding to do. The southern parts of Cebu were badly affected by the typhoon and Sr Neneth explained that some of the Badjao have lost their homes. The convent in which Sr Vic Vic lives also had part of its roof blown off. Thankfully no one was injured.
Sr Neneth and Sr Vic Vic would be so grateful for our prayers at this time. Please join us to pray for the Badjao people and all who are suffering the effects of Typhoon Rai.