November 13, 2013
December 10, 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, [...]
August 13, 2012
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.
December 22, 2011
Carino Antequisa of CAFOD (Caritas UK) is on the ground in the southern Philippines responding to the emergency. He writes: I have just come back from our assessment in the interior areas of Iligan. I'm a bit tired as we had to hike some stretches of impassable roads to reach some devastated communities along the Mandulog River. Our team was the first to reach some of the interior villages that were totally swept by the rampaging water. The situation in the interior villages is very much the same as in the urban areas. However, what they considered as immediate needs are nails, roofing materials, a chainsaw for cutting the fallen coconut trees for their new homes, and food while they reconstruct their houses. Most of them still have farms that were partially destroyed but still could provide food. There is a visible need for improving their water supply. They need shelter, along [...]
By Jennifer Hardy, CRS Regional Information Officer for Asia When people living along the river went to sleep in Cagayan de Oro on Friday night, they didn’t know that a wall of water was barreling toward their homes. By 11 pm, communities in this part of the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines were mostly quiet. Radios were silenced for the night. Residents didn’t hear the emergency warnings broadcast by the government shortly before water crashed into homes on the riverbank. Survivors made it out of the water with their lives, but few possessions. Others perished before they could even leave their homes. Joe Curry, Catholic Relief Services’ country representative for the Philippines, arrived at the flood zone and met people who had lost everything. “Some people don’t even have shoes – their sandals were pulled off their feet in the flood,” he says. The topography of Cagayan de […]
March 1, 2010
The residents of Mary Grace neighbourhood in Bulacan, Philippines, are used to adversity. Most lived in slums by the railroads for years before being relocated by the government to a new riverside neighbourhood. From time to time, the river rises and floods their homes. While inconvenient, they say prayers to God for keeping their families safe and look to the Catholic Church for spiritual and physical support. But on September 26, 2009, the flooding caused by Typhoon Ketsana was unlike anything they had ever seen. “People ran to the church, but water started to rise there too,” says Father Vic Robles, a local Catholic parish priest who has helped poor residents in the area to build homes over the years. “We prayed, and three hours later the water went down.” Most residents stayed in the nearby school overnight before returning to see what had happened to their houses. They were in for [...]
February 2, 2010
Caritas emergency officers are at full stretch bringing aid to the survivors of a series of humanitarian disasters. Typhoon Ketsana appeal Tyhpoon Ketsana (known locally as Typhoon Ondoy) has made 600,000 people homeless in the Philippines and left 1.8 million people in need. The storm has left a trail of destruction across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Caritas is providing aid to the most vulnerable in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. Caritas and the Catholic Church in the Philippines has already helped survivors with food and shelter and is rushing to do more. For the Philippines, Caritas has launched an appeal for US$ 980,216.29 (Euros 666,813.80) to provide food, medicine, shelter materials and other aid items for 50,000 of the worst affected people for a month. In Cambodia Typhoon Ketsana caused extensive damage. It forced 20,000 people from their homes and destroyed scores of buildings and some infrastructure. Caritas will provide a one month food ration [...]