COVID-19 Crisis Response
So far, the Philippines has about 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and about 500 deaths. These are overwhelmingly in the Manila area since testing in the provinces is limited. At ICM, we are starting to see the provincial health impact of the virus – the father of one of our senior ICM staff was diagnosed with COVID-19 two days ago and he passed away yesterday. But with lockdowns, our staff member was unable to be in her hometown. We grieve for her and for her family. And for many other Filipino families who will soon be balancing COVID-19 fears with the day-to-day reality of ultra-poverty.
Most of the Philippines has a strict lockdown in place, allowing only one person per household outside to obtain essential supplies. In poor communities where they live hand-to-mouth, that means no income and no resources to buy food. The Philippine government has been trying to distribute aid to help the poor, but in a country of more than 100 million people, gaps are everywhere. ICM is working with our 10,000-pastor network to identify communities and specific families who are most in need. More than 3,000 of those pastors are already enrolled in ICM Facebook Messenger groups for immediate feedback, and the number of enrolled pastors is growing every day.
Yesterday we crossed a great milestone. We delivered food to our 100,000th unique Filipino family! We are proud to say that ICM has already delivered more than 2 million meals to those in greatest need. With your support, ICM hopes to deliver more than 10 million meals in the coming month.
We have also sourced 100,000 surgical masks that should arrive in the provinces in the coming days. Those masks will help protect the safety of our staff, and we will be distributing to under-resourced provincial hospitals and remote communities. ICM is also delivering millions of seeds, fertilizer, and flyers to help thousands and thousands of families to plant vegetable gardens.
ICM’s staff and partners have been working tirelessly to do all that they can to help.
Lockdowns are creating a hunger catastrophe. Oxfam predicts 500 million more people will be pushed into poverty, and the World Food Programme is predicting hunger of biblical proportions with 130 million pushed to the brink of starvation.
Pastor Rico was so discouraged when no government help came to his community, a mountainous, largely indigenous area in Negros Occidental. Pastor Rico shared, “If the Enhance Community Quarantine continues and people have no work, no money, and no food, the situation will get much worse. Hungry people might do desperate things. That’s my fear.” Although the quarantine measures ban travel, Pastor Rico managed to get a permit and drove more than three hours to ICM’s Bacolod office. He loaded the truck with food packs and brought them back to his community and a few nearby villages.
One of ICM’s health trainers, Aileen says, ““I am most concerned for our neighbors since they have received no other support. Seeing them struggling and hungry, I can’t help but share what little that I have. I shared the Mannapacks with them, some groceries, and rice. It might not be that much but it can help them survive.”
Thank You For Your Prayers & Support
You can help. US$10,000 provides 250,000 meals for the hungry. Our communities are grateful for a gift of any size. We recognize that COVID-19 is not only affecting the Philippines and so we are excited to share that on May 5th, ICM will join organizations around the world to celebrate #GivingTuesdayNow! This day has been designated to be a global day of generosity and unity in response to COVID-19. Please save May 5th on your calendars so you can join us in recognizing and supporting those who are on the frontlines of this crisis.
Chair of the Board
International Care Ministries