Death Toll from Philippines Earthquake Rises to 222 - Sustained damage of Adventist properties
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Manila/Philippines, 30.10.2013 / ANN/NDRRMC/APD

Philippines earthquake

Philippines earthquake

Photo (C) ANN

A hospital and several other properties owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in central Philippines sustained damage when a massive earthquake hit the island of Bohol last week.

The 7.2-magnitude quake killed at least 222 people, injured hundreds more and reduced thousands of buildings to rubble and twisted metal. An estimated 500,000 families are displaced or affected, among them 14 Adventist families. More families, fearing powerful aftershocks, are living outside their homes in makeshift tents.

The upper floors of the Adventist hospital in Cebu were damaged, forcing staff to move patients to lower floors and nearby shelters. Walls cracked and ceilings caved in at the church’s East Visayan Academy. The Capital Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cebu also reported damage, church leaders said.

Seventeen historic churches were also damaged, including the 16th-century Minor Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu, considered the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country.

Travel remains a challenge on the island of Bohol due to impassable roads and interrupted communication services, relief workers said. Although airports and seaports in Bohol and Cebu City are operational, on-the-ground communication, transportation and emergency relief efforts have been hampered.

Despite the obstacles, leaders and staff from the church’s Central Visayan Conference, headquartered in Cebu City, flew to Bohol with other Adventist volunteers to begin distributing food, water and medicine to affected families. Local Adventists are supporting the effort by collecting supplies and supplying off-road vehicles to navigate the debris.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency in the Philippines is monitoring the situation and continues to assess needs. Agency officials said their initial response includes water, food and other basic supplies for the most vulnerable people, such as children, the elderly and pregnant women. ADRA is also coordinating with local government relief efforts to support the broader humanitarian response.

Local church leaders said they’re grateful that the Central Philippine Union Conference headquarters emerged largely unscathed. Hope Channel broadcasts were temporarily halted for safety reasons, Communication Director Donald Zabala said.

The Adventist church conference district oversees more than 1,200 churches in central Philippines with a membership of 166,000

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