A damaged Catholic chapel in Compostela Valley in the southern Philippines
Caritas Australia and its US Caritas counterpart, Catholic Relief Services, have pledged $1.25 million emergency response to help victims of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, Caritas said in a media statement yesterday.
A week after the category five typhoon devastated parts of the Philippines, local Government officials estimate that 210,000 people are displaced and at least 25,000 houses are destroyed.
Joe Curry, Philippines Country Representative of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), said, “This typhoon is of a scale the Philippines has not seen before. We’re talking tens of thousands of homes destroyed across south-eastern and central Mindanao.
“People live in fragile housing and when storms like this, a category five Typhoon come through, it wipes out entire communities. We’ve seen flash floods that look tsunami like; the way they’ve brought down water through hillsides has changed the landscape completely. We’re talking about complete obliteration along coast lines and in interior areas in the mountains.”
Caritas said a priority of its emergency response is targeting the most vulnerable families within these communities. Emergency relief items such as shelter, food and water, and essential non-food items such as hygiene kits, kitchen sets and blankets are being transported to these communities via boat and truck.
Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot said: “This is the 16th Typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. While the country is used to natural disasters, and has high disaster preparedness programs in place, no amount of frequency or planning can alleviate the suffering and devastation a disaster like this brings.”
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