Latest update : Tropical Storm Washi battered southern Philippines, leaving more than 652 people dead
As the world celebrates Christmas, let us not forget to pray for the Filipinos who have lost family and homes in the recent floods.
Extracts from the BBC report on 17 December, 2012:
Flash floods sparked by a tropical storm in the southern Philippines have killed at least 180 people and left hundreds missing, officials say.
Many of the victims were asleep when it struck Mindanao island, killing many in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro.
Tens of thousands of people have fled to higher ground, the authorities say.
Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster rescue agency, said reports were still coming in and the casualty figures could rise.
Mr Ramos said the floodwaters had risen alarmingly fast overnight as people slept.
“Massive flooding had been reported over the region, especially in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City,” he said
The coast guard and other rescuers were scouring the waters off the coastal city for survivors or bodies, he added.
GMA television broadcast dramatic footage of a family escaping their flood-hit home by climbing through a window.
Rescue workers were pictured helping survivors to safety in chest-deep floodwater.
Three people also drowned in Polanco town in Zamboanga del Norte province, said provincial disaster officer Dennis Tenorio. He said high winds had toppled trees.
The storm is set to hit the western island of Palawan later on Saturday, after crossing the Sulu Sea with winds of up to 75 km/h, according to state weather forecasters.
The Philippines are struck by about 20 major storms every year.
May the Lord help the survivors and those who will be facing the storms to come, and cause relief to come speedily and for Christians in the neighbouring provinces to lend a helping hand in the recovery process. The numbers of those missing are mounting by the day.