News Release

CDO Mormon Helping Hands Extend Service to Pablo Evacuees

The city was dark, wet, and without water, but this did not stop the Mormon Helping Hands from serving the evacuees of typhoon Pablo.  Hours after Typhoon Pablo hit Cagayan de Oro City, some 25 LDS Helping Hands volunteers from the Cagayan de Oro Philippines Stake (diocese) served hot macaroni soup to no less than 516 evacuees temporarily staying in four (4) LDS meetinghouses in the Cagayan de Oro area. Ninety six (96) individuals were served in the Kauswagan meetinghouse; Ninety (90) in the Ramon Chaves meetinghouse; Sixty (60) in the Carmen meetinghouse; and two hundred seventy (270) in the Iponan meetinghouse.

Strong winds hit the city of Cagayan de Oro around 12 noon on December 4, 2012. Unlike what happened in 2011 when Sendong struck the city with so much rain, Pablo was different. When it finally hit the city, it carried with it fierce winds which shook cars and houses, destroyed rooftops, bent many trees to the ground, and uprooted many as well.  The floods came a few hours after the wind, and just like the previous year, the volume of water which found it way to the Cagayan de Oro River was enormous.

That night, the majority of the city did not have electricity, and many areas did not have a water supply. A lot of people, residents in the flood-prone areas and danger zones in the city, were temporarily evacuated and were relocated in public schools, covered courts, and churches. Four (4) LDS meetinghouses in the city were also used as evacuation centers for affected church members and their neighbors. 

The hot macaroni soup was not much, but many of the evacuees expressed gratitude for the hot meal. It was, after all, the first hot meal they’d had since Pablo shook the city with its fierce wind and rain. In the Iponan meetinghouse, one evacuee, said, with tears in her eyes:   “We always know help will come…and we know we can always count on the ‘Mormons’ to help! Thank you very much!” She was outside in the parking lot, waiting for the other members of her family to arrive.  

Last year, also in the month of December, CDO was struck by Sendong, a typhoon that brought with it deadly flashfloods which killed around 700 persons. The same LDS meetinghouses were used as evacuation centers at that time.  

LDS Charities in partnership with Catholic Relief Services built more than 700 temporary and permanent shelters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan for those who lost their homes during typhoon Sendong. 


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