By Paul Dobbyn
FILIPINO woman Kristele Agote has a personal message for generous Australians whose support is helping her rebuild after last year’s devastating Typhoon Haiyan.
“We want to thank every one of you who helped us, who donated to help us,” she said.
Ms Agote is one of many in Philippines communities rebuilding six months after Typhoon Haiyan and giving thanks for the generosity of Australians.
Brisbane’s Caritas Australia diocesan director Joe Foley said the appeal, launched soon after the November 8 typhoon swept in from the sea with 313km/hr winds, had raised $6.2 million so far.
“Typhoon Haiyan captured the attention of the world as it decimated the islands of Samar and Leyte in the Philippines, and devastated lives and livelihoods of over 14 million people,” he said.
“The immediate humanitarian needs following the typhoon were enormous.
“Millions of people were without shelter, and many of the hardest-hit areas had no water, food or electricity.
“Through the generous support of the Australian community, Caritas Australia joined with the international Caritas network to provide emergency shelter, water and hygiene supplies, food aid, and psycho-social support to almost 650,000 people across 12 dioceses.”
Mr Foley said “as the news headlines gradually faded away, recovery work continued”.
“Our partners on the ground worked with local communities to begin clearing away the destruction and debris from the typhoon,” he said.
Caritas program co-ordinator Luke Skypkes was among those involved in the clearing work.
“Most importantly for long-term recovery, clearing of the land means that communities could begin to rebuild,” he said.
Caritas has also been working on quick, inexpensive and effective ways to provide families with their own emergency shelters as they start to rebuild what the typhoon destroyed.
The organisation is also looking at rebuilding the livelihoods of families, including farmers and fishermen.
It’s also helping the people to diversify their economic activity into new areas.
The Philippines national Caritas organisation, NASSA, is also thankful to its fellow Caritas members.
“I thank the Caritas confederation, the people who came to help us, for their prayers, their concerns, their message of solidarity and their financial help,” Caritas national director in the Philippines Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.
“We truly appreciate what you are doing for us.”