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Typhoon Haima - The Recovery Begins

Tags: Aviation, Disaster Relief, Helicopter, Mission News, Philippines,
POSTED ON Oct 26, 2016

“It wasn’t the kind of storm that you sleep through,” wrote Jonathan Bamford after Typhoon Haima. “You sit up through the night and keep checking to see if your roof is still where it should be and if the ground beneath your house is being washed away.”

And then morning came.

“It left behind a landscape that looked like it had been through a shredder,” Jonathan added. “Trees were down everywhere, and even bamboo stalks were snapped off. It was a real mess, but fortunately, no one in the village was injured, and very few houses were damaged.”

Not everywhere fared as well.

The eye of the typhoon passed right over NTM’s support center, hangar and helicopter. No one was hurt, but the city was badly damaged. Two missionary families sustained damage to their houses, and no one hazards a guess as to when electricity will be restored.

“Missionaries in the villages seem to be mostly OK,” shared NTM Aviation pilot Brian Pruett. “In a lot of ways they are better off in the villages than in town because they are more set up to deal with no grocery store, power or water.”

An exception to the case would be the Epp family. They were out of the village dealing with medical issues when Typhoon Haima came through the village. “Half of the Epps’ roof was blown off, and the wind and sand from the beach along with the salt water blasted their house. Their house was filled with sand. Lots of sand,” wrote Brian Pruett. “Their appliances were soaked with saltwater, [as were their] power tools, generator, beds, kitchen -- everything.”

And it wasn’t just the Epps. The villagers’ homes were leveled.

It’s been an upside down situation. Usually it’s the pilots and support personnel that are the providers of relief, but as Brian Pruett wrote, “The storm has crippled our whole support team.” Thankfully, the crippling effect didn’t go as far as NTM’s helicopter. Though the hangar doors were badly damaged, the helicopter was spared.

Hangar doors hanging by a thread

“We are definitely more so in ‘recovery’ mode at this point, as in helping our own team with recovery,” wrote Robert Smith, Field Security Coordinator for NTM in the Philippines. “Once our guys can get their own feet steady beneath them, they’ll be ready to assist others as much as they can.”

But progress is being made. Help from outside the hard hit areas has arrived. NTM Aviation pilot Brian Pruett flew in from southern Philippines with the newer R44 helicopter, ready to help in the relief effort. And Brian Schaadt, an NTM Aviation pilot currently on home-assignment, agreed to return for two weeks help in whatever way he can.

And then there are your prayers. Thank you for praying.