By Gladys P. Mangiduyos
Jan. 14, 2022 | VISAYAS, Philippines (UM News)
After the Rev. Apriniel Salmon witnessed his first super typhoon, he headed out to check on families reeling from the disaster.
On the morning of Dec. 17, sunrise unveiled the great damage brought by Typhoon Odette, known internationally as “Rai.”
“Scattered debris of roofs, uprooted trees, toppled electrical posts were all over,” said Salmon, who is the district superintendent of Eastern Visayas. “As expected, the wreckage was insurmountable.”
The storm hit several heavily populated areas, including Cebu, killing more than 400 people.
Salmon also is an administrative pastor of First United Methodist Church in Cebu City. His jurisdiction as superintendent consists of Cebu, Bohol and Leyte.
On his motorcycle, Salmon trekked nearly impassable roads to deliver bread, canned food, rice and water to evacuees sheltering in three local churches.
“People were so afraid,” he said. “They were hopeless and helpless. People of all ages were crying. They had no choice but to wait for any immediate help for food and water.”
Complicating matters, Salmon said, is the pandemic crisis. “How can one transcend the devastation?” he asked. “Even (we) got so frightened and saddened.”
The typhoon wrecked lives and livelihoods, churches, houses and crops. Water and power supplies remained unstable.