The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines is appealing for support from partner organizations around the world to help in the rehabilitation of earthquake-affected communities.
Father Edwin Gariguez, head of Caritas Philippines, said his organization is still in the “emergency phase” of its humanitarian response.
“[But] we are now gathering support and resources for recovery and rehabilitation,” said the priest.
A series of strong earthquakes hit several areas in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao in October, affecting about 260,000 people, many of whom lost their homes.
As of Nov. 12, authorities said 22 people died and about 109,000 others have been displaced. At least 36,000 houses and about 1,400 schools have been damaged.
The government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development has already distributed about US$765,000 worth of food and relief goods to affected families.
Father Gariguez said apart from a housing program for those whose houses were totally destroyed, Caritas Philippines plans to provide “psychosocial and livelihood support” to the communities.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila and head of Caritas Internationalis, called on the faithful to support the needs of those affected by the earthquake.
“Now that reconstruction has begun, not only the structures and schools but of life, our support will give our fellow Filipinos affected by the earthquake the courage,” said the cardinal.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said humanitarian responses has to focus on people “who are less served.”
He said many families still stay in makeshift shelters near their damaged homes and received “very little attention.”
“They are less served because they are not in the very visible big evacuation centers,” said the prelate.