Solidarity in the Philippines for typhoon survivors

Vilma and children at a Caritas Cebu food distribution in San Remigio. Credit: Ryan Worms/Caritas

Vilma and children at a Caritas Cebu food distribution in San Remigio. Credit: Ryan Worms/Caritas

By Ryan Worms

“Solidarity is important to the Philippines,” said Trixie Suarez, headmistress of the Singapore School on Cebu, which is one of the islands badly damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.

“Our students and teachers organised a fundraiser so that in partnership with Caritas we can help people affected by natural disasters,” she said.

Mrs Suarez, fifteen students and members of Caritas Cebu, the diocesan Caritas, distributed food aid and other aid items Tuesday in the north of Cebu to 3650 survivors of the deadly storm.

They had been shocked by the extend of the damage in San Remegio and Medellin towns. Uprooted trees and electric cables are tangled up on the side of the road. The houses which aren’t completely destroyed, bear the marks of extreme violence of the typhoon. Both the churches from which the aid is being delivered from are damaged.

International aid still faces significant logistical challenges, delaying distributions of goods needed by people. Food and material for temporary shelters are still lacking.

Crowds of hundreds of people quickly gather to receive the food packages. Despite the urgent needs, the distributions were peaceful and the aid was warmly welcomed by survivors in San Remegio and Medellin.

Vilma, a widow with her two young children, is a resident of San Remegio.

“Our house has no roof. We sleep outside, but fortunately we have a small terrace with a roof still intact. I had some reserves of rice so I’m not complaining,” she said.

She says others need help more.

“This is Thelma , she has no home, food or clothing. She lost everything. She lives with her child and she is 8 months pregnant. She must be helped first, I can wait,” said Vilma. “This is Emma. She also must be helped immediately because she lost her home and she lives with her five young children.”

Their solidarity is an inspiration as we redouble our efforts to make sure aid gets through.

Caritas Internationalis

President: Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle
Secretary General: Michel Roy

Caritas Internationalis
Palazzo San Calisto
Vatican City State

Reception Desk: + 39 06 698 797 99
Fax: + 39 06 698 872 37

The office is open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.

If you need to contact a staff member outside of office hours in a humanitarian emergency, please call + 39 334 359 0700 or email