Caritas seeks help, food for Typhoon Odette survivors

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
Caritas seeks help, food for Typhoon Odette survivors
In this photo taken early Dec. 16, 2021, residents sleep inside a sports complex turned into an evacuation center in Dapa town, Siargao island, Surigao del Norte province in southern island of Mindanao, ahead of Typhoon Rai's landfall in the province.
AFP / Roel Catoto

MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Church’s social arm, Caritas Philippines, yesterday appealed for food, clothing and materials to help restore the homes and livelihood of those affected by Typhoon Odette.

Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr. yesterday posted an appeal for help for the families and communities ravaged by Odette, as part of their Alay Kapwa program, in their official Facebook page.

“These few days our country, especially Mindanao and Visayas, were hit by the strong Typhoon Odette... We are in need of food, need of clothing, and medicines,” said Fr. Labiao. “So, we appeal to you, our partners, for your generosity. Whatever help you have would mean a lot to them.”

The Caritas official said that these donations were a way to give back to the Lord for the blessings received in our lives.

“This is really a big opportunity to give the Lord the gift, by sharing our gifts to the victims of this typhoon,” he said.

Donations may be deposited to their two Caritas bank accounts, namely through their account in Metrobank, under the account name CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation Inc., with account number 632-7-632-02832-2; through their account in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) under the account name CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation Inc., with account number 4951-0071-08.

Money donations may also be directed to their GCash number 0915-2094092.

Meanwhile, Caritas Manila, of the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM), has set aside a P2.5 million donation to be equally divided among the five dioceses affected by Odette.

Each of the dioceses of Surigao, Tagbilaran, Cebu, Talipon and Maasin would receive P500,000 as initial assistance.

As this developed, Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula ordered second collections from masses in the RCAM yesterday – during the Fourth Sunday of Advent – which would be donated to the typhoon victims.

According to Radio Veritas, Cardinal Advincula issued a circular instructing all parish priests, rectors and chaplains to hold second collections and turn over the amount to the RCAM’s Accounting Office.

He also assured the victims of the typhoon that the RCAM would continue to pray for them, especially at this time when some people have begun preparing for Christmas.

“As we pray for the victims of Typhoon Odette hitting several arch/dioceses of the Visayas and Mindanao, we will also help in the alleviation of their pains,” Advincula said in his circular.

Humanitarian aid

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) yesterday said it sent out a humanitarian caravan to Bohol, which was placed under a state of calamity.

PRC chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said the organization sent staff and volunteers to assess the situation on the ground, and determine other needs of affected residents. The organization also deployed a payloader to help in clearing operations.

“We need to act fast to alleviate the suffering of the affected individuals of Typhoon Odette. Our Red Cross staff and volunteers are working 24/7 to make sure that help will be delivered to the most vulnerable,” Gordon said.

PRC staff and volunteers are still on alert and established command centers, welfare desks and first aid stations in areas heavily affected by the typhoon.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said operatives have been able to rescue over 500 victims of the typhoon in Western, Eastern and Central Visayas.

The PNP also recorded 26 deaths, seven injuries and at least seven missing persons in several affected regions. Meanwhile, over 24,000 families or 100,000 individuals were brought to evacuation centers.

Cut back on election materials

Meanwhile, environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has urged politicians vying in the 2022 elections to cut back on propaganda tarpaulins, including “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” greeting materials, and instead use the saved money to respond to the needs of typhoon victims.

“Instead of putting up self-serving propaganda tarpaulins, why not engage in low-key, no-frills acts of kindness?” EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon said.

The group also urged private companies, local government units, neighborhood associations and other groups to cancel planned fireworks shows this Christmas and New Year, and instead redirect the money to the typhoon victims.

The group suggested that the money saved from canceling planned fireworks displays or from reducing expenses for political tarpaulins, be used to augment ongoing disaster response efforts, including providing survivors with Noche Buena or Media Noche “salo-salo” packs, water, hygiene kits, blankets and sleeping mats, fuel for generator sets, housing materials, farming and fishing tools, or startup capital for micro-business.

Over 130,000 families or some 400,000 individuals from Regions V, VI, VIII, X, XI, Mimaropa and Caraga were affected by Typhoon Odette, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

As of yesterday, a total of 309,814 displaced persons, representing 81,595 families, were staying in evacuation centers, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. –  Elizabeth Marcelo, Neil Jayson Servallos

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