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Local Churches Responding to Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines
Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8th striking Guiuan, Eastern Samar Island, with wind speeds of 195 mph, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to have made landfall anywhere in the world.
Thousands have died and an estimated 9.5 million people are suffering from destruction on par with that seen after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Typhoon Haiyan struck the region just one month after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the same area. The needs are immense shelter, food, water, sanitation, and medicine.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international humanitarian relief agency representing the U.S. Catholic Church, was already on the ground and is increasing its resources in the area and is working with partner agencies and the Philippine government to respond to the most immediate needs and to assist in the long-term recovery from the disaster.
This is the worst storm ever to hit the Philippines, said CRS Country Representative Joe Curry, who noted that this country often suffers from extreme weather. Curry says that there is total devastation in a 30 mile-wide swath cut by Haiyan as it passed over three heavily populated islands -- Leyte, Panay, Cebu.
CRS has committed an initial $20 million in immediate relief and recovery. CRS is immediately distributing thousands of temporary A-frame shelters. Each can house a family of five and 32,000 of these shelters are arriving in Cebu City, near the zone of destruction, in the next few days. Along with the shelters, CRS is handing out thousands of hygiene kits that include soap, towels and toothpaste as well as kits that includes plastic basins, cooking pots, utensils and other items that may have been lost in the storm.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, outgoing President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for a national collection for the humanitarian and institutional needs of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and surrounding areas impacted by Typhoon Haiyan as soon as the possible.
As has been the practice in the Diocese of Gaylord when such disasters have occurred in the past, Msgr. Francis Murphy, Diocesan Administrator, is encouraging parishes and schools to prayerfully consider taking up a special collection to assist our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. Donors should mark their checks for Typhoon Relief. All funds collected will then be forwarded by the Diocese to Catholic Relief Services specifically for the relief and recovery efforts in the Philippines. Donations may also be made through our website dioceseofgaylord.org and then clicking on the link to Make a Gift. Please be sure to note your donation is for Typhoon Relief.
Individuals who would like to donate directly to Catholic Relief Services may do so online via their website at crs.org or by calling 877.435.7277
Please also continue to pray for all those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan as well as the rescue and relief workers who are working tirelessly to bring healing to those who desperately need our help.
For more information regarding the relief efforts, log on to crs.org.