PHILIPPINES: Families remain in need after Typhoon Rai
Salesians continue to provide aid for families impacted by Typhoon Rai
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries continue their work helping families in Cebu, Philippines, who have been impacted by Typhoon Rai, which hit the region with winds of 121 miles per hour before making landfall on Dec. 16. According to the National Council for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction, the effects of the typhoon impacted more than 1.8 million people including killing 407 and injuring 1,147.
Father Fidel Orendain, provincial of the Southern Philippines, said, “On my first visit to one of our schools badly hit by the super typhoon, very strong emotions flooded me. A pall of uncertainty and desperation gripped me over the grave destruction all over the campus. Now, several weeks and visits later, the situation has changed little and slowly.”
In one of his last visits Fr. Orendain was able to observe the difficulties for Salesian teachers during this challenging time. “Since face-to-face lessons were banned in schools for almost two years, teachers are required to come to the campus to print lessons in module packs so parents could pick them up for their kids to work on. Faculty members line up to use the printers that survived getting wet or being blown away by the typhoon. Half of their concern is focused on making and printing lessons. The other half is to rush back home to repair their houses.”
Fr. Orendain reported that a little over one-third of the teachers and staff of the Salesian educational center in Cebu had their roofs blown away. They were also concerned about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and remaining safe.
Salesians have been working tirelessly to help those most in need. On Jan. 29, Father Godofredo Atienza, former provincial and current head of the Salesian Family Secretariat, represented Fr. Orendain on a visit to families residing on the group of islands of Olango. He noted, “Many of the houses in Olango have yet to be rebuilt and the electricity has yet to be restored. These families truly suffer, whether it is dry or it is raining, because most of their homes were totally flattened.”
Just reaching these families was challenging, requiring a journey first by car and then by boat. The Salesian team is committed to bringing the aid that has been made available by the generous support of Misean Cara, the Salesian Irish Province development office.
Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work and are continuing to assess damage and provide what they can to help support their local communities after this devastating storm.
Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines—working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. There are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent of the population are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.
Poverty rose sharply in the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Bank, close to 4 million people became poor in the first half of 2021 due to pandemic-induced lockdown measures that dried up jobs and reduced domestic demand. Poverty incidence in the Philippines rose to 23.7 percent from 21.1 percent, indicating 3.9 million more people are living in poverty now than in 2018 when the statistics were last verified.
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Salesian Missions – Philippines
World Bank – Philippines