Church aid workers see great needs in Philippines


Nearly two weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines, Catholic aid workers were seeing great needs, reports the Catholic News Service.

Sandra Harlass, emergency relief coordinator and health adviser for Malteser International, was concerned about getting emergency food to displaced residents in Eastern Samar, the easternmost province among the central islands that took the first lashing from Haiyan.

"The needs are basically huge," said Harlass, who had just returned to Manila from the tiny towns of San Antonio and Amandayehan, across the strait from the worst-hit city of Tacloban. "Ninety percent of the houses are destroyed ... most were just washed away from the storm surge.

"Together with the houses, of course, all the food supplies were washed away, all the nonfood items, like blankets, mosquito nets, everything is just gone," she said.

The team of assessors found people who had had very little to eat nine days after the storm struck. Harlass said one of the villages had received food from the government once; the other had none.

"Overall, they are highly food insecure because there is no schedule of regular food delivery, so people don't know when the next food (is) coming," she told Catholic News Service on Monday. "What they usually receive is (5 pounds) of rice for a family, which just lasts a day, maybe two."

FULL STORY Mass graves, no food: Church aid workers see great needs in Philippines

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