November 13, 2013
September 25, 2013
December 18, 2012
By Jen Hardy, CRS Communications Officer Lush trees dominate the landscape in the tropical Philippines. But in this mountainous section of Mindanao, brown, barren landscape now stretches into the distance. The trees that stayed standing were stripped bare on 3 December, as Typhoon Bopha devastated areas of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. In many areas, every tree, stretching to the mountains in the distance, lies snapped on the ground. Massive banana plantations have been flattened, leaving only traces of homes and other structures. Bananas sit rotting in the mud, and plantation labourers worry that with no bananas to harvest they’ve lost their incomes just as they’re grappling with so much other loss. Fele Ondocan is thankful that her home in Andap barangay is only damaged, not totally destroyed. “The roof and part of the frame blew away, but we found it nearby. We’re relieved, because we can’t afford to buy new materials,” she said. [...]
“It looks like a tsunami hit. It’s just complete and total destruction. Whole hillsides were washed away in flash floods,” said Joe Curry, CRS country representative in the Philippines. “I’ve talked to colleagues who’ve worked in disaster response for ten years, and they say the devastation in the Compostela Valley is among the worst they’ve ever seen in the Philippines,” said Curry. The official death toll now stands at more than 647, with at least 550 people missing. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes since the typhoon made landfall last Tuesday. “As the roads are now being accessible and the electricity is back in many areas , the communication and access is bringing a clearer picture of the extend of the destruction,” says Cynthia Perez from Caritas Philippines (locally known as NASSA).
Typhoon Bopha (local name “Pablo”) slammed into the Philippines Tuesday forcing the evacuation of 160,000 people and leaving hundreds dead. The category 5 super typhoon hit south eastern Mindanao with 160 mph winds, causing flooding and damage to homes, businesses and farms. Caritas Philippines (NASSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a US-based Caritas member) have sent joint teams into the affected areas. Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Director of Caritas Philippines, is with one of the teams in Suriago del Sur where he says damage has been substantial. “Most of the coastal area has been affected,” he said. “In the town of Nigig, only three out of 50 family homes are still standing.” Caritas says the areas of Compostela and Davao Oriental have the highest needs, such as sleeping mats, blankets, water/hygiene supplies, and tarpaulins for emergency shelter. “Caritas here have been able to channel assistance through the churches. Many people took refuge in churches, [...]
October 12, 2012
Caritas is appealing for funds to help families in the Philippines, many of whom are living in temporary evacuation centres following massive floods. Heavy rains in early August left over 100 people dead and hundreds of thousands of families without shelter and food. Conditions are still very difficult with food scarce and many people unable to return home. Caritas will care for over 6000 families in five dioceses, providing food, hygiene items and cooking utensils. The cost of the two-month programme will be 352,050 euro. Priority will be given to vulnerable people such as pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and child-headed households who have either lost their homes completely or whose homes have been severely damaged by water. Caritas’ work in the flood areas aims to prevent illness and further deaths caused by such difficult living conditions. When the floods first struck Caritas mobilised its network of diocesan centres and church volunteers [...]
September 6, 2012
The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has announced that a second country, the Philippines, has just ratified Convention 189/2011 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Uruguay was the first country to ratify this Convention last June. This is the second breakthrough after adoption by ILO members in June 2010. Caritas says it is now very important to keep international attention up on these set of rules, so that more countries who are ILO member States also ratify it. Ratification means also that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. In 2009, Caritas Internationalis started a campaign for migrant domestic workers’ rights. Many Caritas members provide services to domestic workers and had expressed their concern about the abuses such workers had to suffer. The campaign contributed [...]
August 13, 2012
As the Philippines struggles to cope with massive flooding, assessment teams from NASSA (Caritas Philippines) and Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas members from the USA) have visited the worst-affected areas. They spoke with flood victims now living in elementary schools, churches and gymnasiums that are being used as evacuation centres. “The majority of the families in the evacuation centres have houses that are submerged right now,” says Father Edwin Gariguez, Executive Director of NASSA. “They expect to stay at the centres for weeks or even months while their houses homes are still under water.” The centres are housing over 150,000 people. Most centres are overcrowded and lack adequate latrines and bathing facilities. Drinking water is also difficult to obtain. “There are long queue times for water supply,” says Father Gariguez. “There are rations of drinking water in some areas, but it is still insufficient, and sometimes people don’t have enough containers [...]
Caritas is working quickly to help people suffering because of massive flooding in the Philippines. Elizabeth Tromans of Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member based in the USA) is helping respond to the floods in metro Manila, and describes one woman's story on the CRS blog: Through the metal bars of a window in an elementary school now used as an evacuation center, Marisol Ugay, 29, holds a toddler and an infant in her lap and gives a reluctant smile as she explains, “I don’t normally look this old; it’s just the stress.” For nearly two weeks, the monsoon rains haven’t stopped in metro Manila and surrounding areas. The torrential rains, which began on August 7, have affected 1.2 million people and forced 242,000 people out of their homes and into evacuation centers. The Philippine government reports a total of 614 evacuation centers throughout central Luzon. At its most severe, rain [...]
February 16, 2012
In the Philippines, where thousands of people lost their homes to powerful Typhoon Washi, a Caritas partner is using timber from logs that were washed down the river to build temporary shelters. In rural areas, they are also distributing housing repair kits – tools, sheeting and plywood – and helping to repair water systems. Read more about the work of CAFOD (a Caritas member based in the UK) and ECOWEB, its partner on the ground.