Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines last week, leaving a trail of destruction. The typhoon was one of the strongest to ever make landfall, flattening thousands of homes, destroying schools, damaging power supplies, and tearing apart the lives of 9.8 million people.
Aid charity CAFOD has deployed an emergency support team and is working with their partners Caritas Philippines and American charity Catholic Relief Services to provide the most urgently needed aid: food, shelter and essential household goods for people who have lost everything. The agency is also planning to provide clean water and sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.
Matthew Carter, Head of CAFOD’s Humanitarian Department, said: “Power lines, phone lines and mobile towers have all been damaged, making communication very difficult – but it’s clear that the typhoon has had a catastrophic impact. Our local partners are on the ground in the worst hit areas, responding to the most immediate needs.”
Rey Barnido, an aid worker in the Philippines, said: "Patients are overflowing from the regional hospital in Tacloban. There are dead people everywhere. There is no water or power. Volunteers are trying to manage the disaster. It looks as if nuclear bombs were dropped."
The typhoon hit some of the same areas that were affected by an earthquake in October, adding further damage to houses and hampering existing aid efforts. Thousands of people on Bohol island are now living in tents, makeshift shelters and evacuation centres. CAFOD is continuing to supply food and shelter to those who most need it.
CAFOD’s partners across the region are ensuring that emergency supplies are in place. In the longer term, CAFOD will help people to rebuild their homes and to make a living again.
CAFOD Director Chris Bain said: “However distressing the images of devastation and stories of suffering caused by Typhoon Haiyan, we cannot waste time on despair or shock – not when there are still lives to be saved and communities in such desperate need of help. We are launching our emergency appeal in response to the hundreds of schools, parishes and individuals up and down the country who have contacted us to ask: ‘What can we do?’”
“The best way we can all help is by supporting the charities and church groups who are already operating in the worst hit areas, responding to their immediate needs for food, water and shelter, beginning the hard work of rebuilding the communities that have lost everything, and keeping them constantly in our prayers. Together, we can bring new hope to those who today face utter desolation.”
TO DONATE TO CAFOD AND HELP THEM RESPOND TO THE EMERGENCY IN THE PHILIPPINES, PLEASE VISIT CAFOD'S TYPHOON HAIYAN APPEAL PAGE TO MAKE A DONATION
Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines on Friday 8 November. An estimated 9.8 million people are in need of help.
What is needed?
Food, shelter and sanitation is needed for people whose homes have been destroyed, as well as blankets, clothes and other essentials.
What is CAFOD doing?
CAFOD’s local partners are on the ground in the worst hit areas, responding to immediate needs. CAFOD is still providing aid to people who lost their homes in the Bohol earthquake last month, and doing everything they can to reach the most isolated and vulnerable people affected by this disaster. Please give today to help.
In a country where 80 per cent of people are Catholic, CAFOD has worked in the Philippines since 1969. They have recently responded to several emergencies in the country, including Tropical Storm Washi in 2011, Typhoon Bopha in 2012 and the earthquake that hit Bohol island last month.