A carpenter, two assistants, and several volunteers work to repair a house damaged by Typhoon Haiyan with materials provided by CRS. Credit: Jim Stipe/CRS

A carpenter, two assistants, and several volunteers work to repair a house damaged by Typhoon Haiyan with materials provided by CRS. Credit: Jim Stipe/CRS

Thousands of Filipinos are sleeping under a roof for the first time since Typhoon Haiyan struck thanks to Caritas and its generous supporters. Specially designed tarps provide durable, low-cost, easy to build shelter until more permanent structures can be built.

Caritas member Catholic Relief Services distributed Wednesday 2,243 tarps for emergency shelters in Palo and Ormoc. This brings the total of tarps distributed so far to 3,358 across 9 barangay (villages) in Palo and Ormoc. In all, 13,570 tarps for emergency shelters are in country or distributed. Another 29,000 CRS tarps will arrive before the end of the month.

More positive developments include a municipal water supply is now functioning in Tacloban City and Palo. Water and sanitation and hygiene supplies which arrived at Cebu airport will be sent to Palo tomorrow.

And 3 commercial airlines have been granted air space and are operating on a limited basis from Manila directly to Tacloban as of today. With these flights and helicopters that will be running regular routes between Cebu, Ormoc and Palo, concerns about available passenger transport are easing.

Huge goals remain. Caritas has a long-term approach looks well beyond shelters into fully restoring the lives and livelihoods in the areas under our care.

Numbers give some indication of the work needed beyond the initial relief phase.

  • The total number of displaced persons is now more than 4.4 million, with the number of total affected nearly 10 million.
  • Families inside 1,526 evacuation centres (continuing the trend of a small daily decrease in the number of evacuation centres over the past several days) is nearly 86,000.
  • The official death toll from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee has crossed the 4,000 threshold and now stands at 4,011.
  • Unchanged in the past several days are the 1,602 who remain missing.
  • Nearly 650,000 houses are now reported as damaged. Of those around 325,000 are destroyed.