The pictures and reports of the devastating results of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has been shocking. The loss of lives, homes, livelihoods and the cry for help for the basic human need for clean water, food and shelter, has touched hearts around the world. Thankfully aid is now reaching that country especially the cut off remote areas. The cry for help is being met, but the healing of the trauma people have suffered and rebuilding homes will take longer.
We could talk about why this is happening in the Philippines and elsewhere. We could discuss global warming, the problem of people living in areas of instability, providing defences and so on. These are all good and right, but it is the way we face and deal with the immediate aftermath of such things that begins to rebuild communities. What we immediately see after the shock and the trauma is people beginning to help each other. Those able to do so seek to make things safe, to help the injured and vulnerable, to rescue the trapped, to bury the dead, to comfort the bereaved, to find clean water and food, to make some kind of shelter. It is very practical and it is done in one’s immediate location. Across the area hit by the Typhoon people were getting on in their local communities whilst making the world aware that wider help is also needed and needed quickly.
We live on a planet which will experience devastating events, but we also live in a world where human kindness and generosity are seen and begin to bring healing and restoration. It is truly Incarnational.
by the Revd Canon Philippa Brunt, Vicar of Parkend and Viney Hill, Area Dean of Forest South Deanery, Diocese of Gloucester