Christian Group Helping Muslim Flood Victims

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COTABATO, Philippines - More than 65,000 families in the southern Philippines are suffering from floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains last month.

Villages in the mostly Muslim region are still submerged in water, displacing thousands of families.

CBN's Operation Blessing is on the scene providing relief and medical care.

The residents have no choice but to endure the discomforts of cramped evacuation centers and exposure to the changing weather.

"It's very hot here during the day but at night, it is cold and windy. Most of the evacuees, especially the children, get sick with cold, cough, and fever," community leader Fatima Mokamad said.

"The residents here are very poor. Our blankets are too worn out to keep us warm," she said.

Residents are also suffering from diarrhea and infections due to lack of clean water and poor sanitation.

To help them, Operation Blessing held medical missions, especially in the remote areas that have barely been given relief assistance.

Some areas are neglected because of the presence of Muslim rebel groups.

But Operation Blessing volunteer Dr. Yvonne Estose went from tent to tent in these places, giving health checkups and treating the sick.

Most children have diarrhea, while the old women suffer from hypertension because of poor nutrition.

Sammy Ulong and his family learned that their 3-year-old daughter who had fever for several days was suffering from bronchitis.

"Thank you so much for your help," he told Operation Blessing volunteers. "This is our first time to be checked by a doctor. We don't go to the doctor because we don't have money to pay them and buy medicines. But you gave everything for free."

In addition to medicine, Operation Blessing also gave away toys to the children. For many, it was the first real toy they'd ever owned.

Operation Blessing distributed food, mats, and blankets, as well as copies of the Book of John to flood victims.

The team then set up a water station to provide clean water in the evacuation centers.

While the residents are waiting for the floodwater in their villages to subside, Operation Blessing is there to ease their suffering and spread God's love in the Muslim communities.

"I am overwhelmed to know that, for most of them, I am the first doctor they saw," Estose said. "I hope they really felt God's love and that they experienced through us that Christ's love is real."

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Lucille Talusan

Lucille Talusan

CBN News Asia Correspondent

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