Caritas are giving “extra heart” to the vulnerable people of the Philippines following the devastation of Typhoon Tembin, which struck on Christmas Eve killing at least 180 people.
Jing Rey Henderson who is Communications and Partnership Development Coordinator for NASSA/Caritas Philippines says it’s not just food and clothing they are giving to people but also hope.
“When we started our relief operations, it’s not just that we’re giving vulnerable people food, nor just providing clothing, their exact words are, ‘You are giving extra heart to what we have’. These vulnerable people have found an extended family they didn’t even know existed,” Jing said.
The typhoon hit the Southern Palawan region of the Philippines where 30 deaths have been confirmed so far.
According to Jing, the people in that area were already suffering due to terrorist activities in May.
“So these are internally displaced families who are doubly affected,” she said. “It is very difficult for them, they didn’t have much because of the war and now the typhoon has added the impact of strong rains, winds and flooding.
“They describe their situation as not just ‘back to zero’ but in a way to ‘negative zero’. They’re poorer than they even were before.”
Jing says the presence of the Church is giving comfort to people as well as relief goods.
“For locals to have volunteers, priests and Church workers visit them provides a consoling presence.”
Caritas Australia’s $50,000 contribution to the relief effort will target at least 3000 families, providing them with food, hygiene kits and cooking utensils.
“We Filipinos are resilient and positive,” Jing said.
“NASSA/Caritas Philippines and the Caritas network have given people hope and helped them to make good on what they have.”