Tacloban City on Leyte has been a focus of attention. Caritas Philippines-NASSA staff member Rey Barnido said, “Patients are overflowing from the regional hospital. There are dead people everywhere. There is no water or power. Volunteers are trying to manage the disaster. It looks as if nuclear bombs were dropped.”
A Caritas Philippines and American Caritas member Catholic Relief Services team arrived in Ormoc on Leyte yesterday and traveled to Palo today. They say roads are filled with debris, most homes are uninhabitable due to damage and shops and other buildings are destroyed.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines, fears other areas have been hit just as badly. Samar Islands has over 700,000 people. It was the first place the storm made landfall. Hundreds are confirmed dead and thousands are missing. Giporlos and Guiuan are reported to be “totally ruined” and 2,000 are listed as missing in Basey alone.
“We are getting reports from Panay and Biliran that the situation there is very difficult. Houses have been leveled. There are many casualties. They haven’t been reached yet. People lack the basic necessities,” said Fr Gariguez.
Caritas agencies are in the process of mobilizing resources to help in the most affected areas. Local Caritas and Church partners have been able to get food to some of the worst hit areas.
CRS has procured 18,000 tarpaulins for shelter,and its other support will include water and hygiene supplies and non-food-item kits for 5,000 families. Cash-for-work community clean up and debris removal area also planned.
Emergency response staff from the Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat in Rome and Caritas members around the world are heading to the Philippines as relief efforts gear up. Caritas organisations around the world have so far pledged €1,435,000