As supplies to meet physical essentials have begun flowing into the southern Philippines, TWR is preparing to address the spiritual and emotional needs of Typhoon Haiyan survivors.
The international media ministry is drawing on its strengths to contribute to relief efforts, most of which are aimed at stabilizing life in the ruined island towns and villages and then beginning to rebuild. A joint effort involving three arms of TWR’s multifaceted outreach – the national office in the Philippines, the shortwave transmitter site on Guam and Member Care Media – will be broadcasting programs to inform, encourage and counsel the thousands who have lost family members, homes and, in many cases, hope itself.
And as the broadcast gets underway, TWR Philippines staff members are rushing to buy supplies and line up volunteers for a trip to one of the areas hardest hit when Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, came ashore Nov. 8. There they will distribute food, water and radios and conduct outdoor services.
Plans called for a Monday, Nov. 18, launch of a special one-hour daily program produced by TWR Philippines and broadcast from Guam on the 19-meter shortwave band (15160 kHz) during the 8-9 p.m. time slot. Still being hurriedly developed, the program is expected to include information about disaster relief efforts, spiritual content and 15-minute segments from Member Care Media described as “psychological first aid” for traumatized survivors of natural disasters.
Scott Hollinger, who worked with Dr. Brent Lindquist of Link Care Center to produce the 15-minute segments originally used in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, recalled the comments of the director of Radio 4VEH in Haiti following the massive earthquake in that Caribbean nation. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, Storly Michel asked Hollinger, if most Haitians could sit down with a psychologist or a similar professional who could help them with their problems?
“He said, ‘However, the reality is almost all the people in Haiti will never be able to talk with a counselor and get help psychologically for what they’ve had to experience,’” Hollinger reported Michel as saying. “‘These programs may be the only counseling these people will ever receive.’ And I think the same situation applies to the Philippines... If they can just hear words of encouragement and the fact that they are survivors – they’re not victims.”
Some of the topics addressed in the 15-minute segments include “Dealing with Loss of Life,” “Making Children Feel Safe After a Disaster” and “Where Is God in the Midst of Disaster?” Initially, the segments, voiced by Dr. Lindquist, will be aired in English but soon they will be translated into Tagalog, both of them national languages of the Philippines.
A series of one-minute devotional spots produced by the Biblica ministry and called “When Your Whole World Changes” also will be aired as part of this post-Haiyan outreach. Although broadcasting in shortwave from Guam is the quickest and most effective way to reach the hundreds of thousands in the southern Philippines, organizers of the effort say they expect to shift the special broadcast to a seven-station FM network in the storm-wrecked areas as those stations recover power and get up and running again.
As it sets the special program in motion, TWR has issued a call to regular supporters and anyone else wishing to join this special project to help meet the spiritual and emotional needs of Filipino survivors. A fund to underwrite the effort has been created, and contributions are welcome at www.twr.org/typhoon.
[Photo from Wikimedia Commons, credit to Trocaire]