Philippines: CAFOD rushes aid to survivors of Typhoon Ketsana

CAFOD's partners in the Philippines are rushing aid to people affected by Typhoon Ketsana which struck the country on September 26, killing more than 100 people and leaving at least half a million homeless

The agency  has pledged an initial £20,000 to support the work of  Caritas Philippines (NASSA), and assessments are being carried out to see if and how the response needs to be scaled up.

They are also watching the progress of the typhoon, which is heading towards Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma.

Typhoon Ketsana hit the capital Manila and 27 provinces, wreaking havoc as torrential rains caused flooding and landslides. Around 80 per cent of Manila was submerged in the worst flooding in the country for four decades. A state of "national calamity" has been declared.

Caritas Philippines responded immediately to the crisis by providing relief packages of food, cooking utensils, shelter and personal hygiene items to 10,000 families from five of the seriously affected areas.

Caritas Philippines has mobilised the students and personnel of the St. Paul University in Manila, where classes have been suspended. More emergency relief packages will be sent out as the number of affected families increases.

Caritas Philippines Executive Director Sr. Rosanne B Mallillin SPC said: “The situation is very challenging. Many of our local social action centres are still unable to reach the worst-hit areas because of the debris and the flooding.

"People are in need of food and clean water as many of the water sources have been contaminated. We’re also sending cooking utensils, sleeping mats and bed sheets.”

CAFOD’s head of Asia programmes Colette Fearon said: “The intensity of the storm has affected hundreds of thousands of people and the situation is chaotic and desperate. It’s vital that people are able to reach shelter and get basic supplies. Our partners, who are very experienced in emergencies, are doing everything humanly possible to ensure this happens.

“The scale of the typhoon was greater than anything experienced in nearly half a century suggesting that it could be linked to climate change.

"The worrying issue is that some scientists predict this type of event will become more common in a warmer world. World leaders must take serious steps to ensure action is taken on climate change.”

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