PHILIPPINES: Salesians help families who lost everything in fire and typhoon
More than 50 homes burned in a fire before devastation of Typhoon Rai
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been 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.
With international support, including that from the Salesian Mission Office in Australia, Salesian staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to meet basic needs of hundreds of people who have lost everything and who need assistance, food, clean water, clothing, and temporary shelter.
Before the typhoon, Salesians were helping victims of a local fire. More than 50 homes burned to the ground, and the families were then faced with the typhoon’s devastation. One family had built a makeshift shelter after the fire only to be told to find new shelter because of the typhoon. When the wind and rain subsided, they walked through mud, garbage, and debris back to their home to realize they had lost what was left of their belongings.
Reggie, a volunteer who finds funds to educate poor children in the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Cebu City, tried her best to help these families. Jan Odivilas, from the Southern Philippine Social Communications Office, said, “Reggie was tired and her hair was unkempt when I sat down with her yesterday. But her face lit up when I told her I was hoping she could help organize a rescue operation.”
Odivilas added, “I gave Reggie the donations we collected. Around noon today, she called to tell me that she had bought all the non-perishable products and was with an army of volunteers filling 700 relief bags. She was already up at four in the morning. The rest of the day will be long. This isn’t her first rescue this month. And she knows very well that in the weeks to come there is a good chance that she will fill even more bags.”
Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work and are providing 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