Philippines Emerges from Floodwaters with Hope

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MANILA, Philippines - In Pasig, one of the hardest-hit districts of metro Manila, there are signs Monday that life is slowly returning to normal.

A week after floods from Typhoon Ketsana left nearly 300 dead and reduced wide swathes of the capital to ruins, residents in Pasig are picking up the pieces.  

Kids are heading back to school, garbage is being collected, the water is back on, and businesses are clearing and cleaning up.

"Yes, trying to recover everything that we lost," said business owner Eric Conde.

And at the corner of Paseo de Animals and Gabrielle street in Pasig, Sola Gracia Baptist Church opened its doors on Sunday for the first time since the storm hit.

The church has been on that corner for nearly 20 years. Last Saturday, when the typhoon came ashore, the entire neighborhood went under.   

"We are used to getting flood waters that reach to our thighs," said Sola Gratia Baptist Church Pastor Richard Sorilla. "But this time, it was over two meters above the roof of the church. The road is destroyed so people have to walk through all this mud. I've never seen such destruction."

Despite the obvious inconveniences of trying to hold Sunday service in a place like that: mounds of trash as far as the eye can see, water all over the place, people trying to rebuild their homes, for pastor Sorilla it was an important message to send to the devastated community

"We had to open the church," Sorilla added. "We had to tell people that God is alive, that He cares for them and loves them in the midst of their suffering."

Many other areas in Manila and nearby eastern provinces remain flooded. Typhoon Ketsana dumped a month's worth of rainfall in just six hours. Nearly 400,000 displaced people are still living in evacuation centers. 

Over the weekend, CBN's Operation Blessing International deployed teams of doctors to some of the hardest-hit areas, while other Operation Blessing teams rolled up their sleeves and cooked hot meals for children. It capped off a week of ministering by Operation Blessing to over 64,000 victims of Typhoon Ketsana. 

And that is just the beginning. This week, Operation Blessing disaster relief teams will head to villages that have yet to be reached with desperate supplies like food, water and medical attention.

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