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Up from the Ashes – Helping Volcano Victims Rebuild

Field Report by David Burbach

PHILIPPINES – “I was at the lake feeding fish when one of my companions noticed smoke coming from the crater,” Sherwin recalls. As a young father-to-be, Sherwin feared the worst from the sleeping volcano under his feet. Unfortunately, those fears proved founded. “You could even hear the rumbling of the island,” Sherwin said. “That was when we realized that an eruption was really happening.” 

Soon, a column of ash and smoke rose high into the atmosphere while explosions rumbled deep underground. Lava spewed from the summit, ash fell like a heavy, gray snow, and volcanic lightening flashed from the eruption column. But as dramatic as the eruption of the Taal Volcano was, its impact on the surrounding communities was even worse. As the eruption intensified, Sherwin and his pregnant wife were forced to evacuate, volcano victims whose lives had been turned upside down. 


Sherwin’s family, like so many families living in the area around the volcano, had lost so much. Dozens had been killed and the volcanic ash destroyed virtually all crops in the region. Many livestock died and fishermen relying on Taal Lake for food and income found their livelihoods gone virtually overnight. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes. 

Arriving in Manila where his sister lived, Sherwin and his wife hoped for a fresh start. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for Sherwin to find work. Despite the ongoing hardship, Sherwin never lost faith in God.  

Helping Volcano Victims Rebuild After The Eruption 

volcano relief

Your support of Operation Blessing enabled relief to come quickly after the eruption. And your faithfulness made it possible for Operation Blessing to continue helping volcano victims over the following months. Operation Blessing partnered with Sherwin’s pastor, an expert boat-maker, to build new boats for fishermen who had lost their livelihoods in the eruption—including Sherwin. You also helped provide new fishing nets and resources for repairing homes to victims of the Taal volcano

“This blessing is really a big help for us,” Sherwin said, now a new father. “I thank first and foremost the Lord, and all the people who He used!” 

Thank you for all you do to show compassion to those left hurting after disaster strikes. 

Taal Before Eruption
taal after
Taal After Eruption

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  • Hi my name is Robert and my wife and I have helped partner with Operation Blessing,CBN, and Orphans Promise  because we know for sure that you guys are indeed on the ground helping people in need and for that we believe in your ministry. Can you guys please help us we are from Houma,LA too and our home suffered roof damage and mold is growing all on the walls we do believe its fixable but we really don’t know because we have never rebuilt before and we really love our home but we don’t know when or if we’ll be able to live in it again. Right now we’re still evacuated at a hotel in El Dorado,Arkansas until October but after that date we’re not sure what’s going to happen. We can’t believe this has happened to us after losing our home to Katrina in 2005 an now this on the very same exact date of the anniversary of Katrina is really devastating if you can help in anyway even if it’s to help adequately tarp the roof I promise you it would be beyond anything I could ask think or imagine I know you guys do whatever you can for people and for that I am grateful Thank you for the work you do All over the world and thank you for helping people here in my community as well. I moved here in 2007 a little after Katrina and from what I hear, folks here have never experienced this level of destruction and neither have I. I just pray for a SPEEDY recovery for all of us and much Thanks to  Operation Blessing and all the other boots on the ground helping to assist in this recovery process.

    • Operation Blessing says:

      Hi Robert, So sorry to hear that! I will pass this along to our US Disaster team. You can also call 1-800-730-2537 or Life Church in Houma to request help. Many blessings to you and your family during this difficult time.

  • I wanted to come help but was told they couldn’t give me a place to lay my head at night! I don’t know where to stay or where to go.

  • Good afternoon Operation Blessing!
    My name is Tammy. I was wondering if you need any volunteers for anything while you’re in Louisiana? I live in Gray, Louisiana. I have my own transportation and live nearby. I enjoy helping if you will have me.