Caritas supporting Philippines relief following Typhoon Bopha

Catholic aid agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged $5000 to relief work after Typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines this week, and is accepting donations. At least 310 people are reported dead, and 160,000 people were evacuated on the southern island of Mindanao. Winds of up to 250 km/hr caused flooding and damage to homes, businesses and farms. ‘We are working through our sister agencies NASSA and Catholic Relief Services on the ground who have sent joint teams to the affected areas,’ said Caritas Director Julianne Hickey. Visiting the area of Suriago del Sur, NASSA (Caritas Philippines) Director Fr Edwin Gariguez said damage has been substantial. ‘Most of the coastal area has been affected. In the town of Nigig, only three out of 50 family homes are still standing,’ he said. ‘We have started to provide some people with rice and basic non-food items but we will need more time and effort to be able to help many affected people.’ However, transitional shelters built by NASSA following a tropical storm last December withstood the latest onslaught. ‘The low death toll is the result of lessons learned from previous natural disasters,’ said Fr Gariguez. ‘Pre-emptive evacuation and early warning system worked.’ Donations to Caritas for Philippines typhoon relief can be made by: Phoning 0800 22 10 22 to make credit card donations or Donating online using a credit card at www.caritas.org.nz or Posting to Caritas, PO Box 12193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 168 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

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