Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the US Catholic community, has announced that it would prioritise the rebuilding of houses in the typhoon-devastated towns of Palo and McArthur in Leyte province, reports Ucanews.
'We are going to put this part of the Philippines back together again. We are going to do the best we can to build,' Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, CRS president, said.
On Monday, Cardinal McCarrick visited Palo and nearby areas of Leyte that were badly hit by the super typhoon Haiyan on November 8, killing thousands of people and affecting at least some four million others.
The government said that while the worst hit provinces were Leyte and Eastern Samar, with a combined population of 2.3 million, a 'State of National Calamity' has also been declared in the provinces of Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, and Palawan.
Donal Reilly, deputy director of CRS Emergency Response Team, said the agency would set up office at the cathedral in Palo, which was devastated by the typhoon.
The agency started distributing tarpaulins to serve as temporary shelters for those who lost their homes, as well as water and sanitation kits. 'I don't know how much yet, but this is going to cost a lot of money to rebuild,' said Reilly in an interview. The CRS has pledged US$20 million to help typhoon victims 'put their lives back together.'
Palo, which has a population of 62,727, is home to the offices of the ecclesiastical government of the Archdiocese of Palo, the archbishop's residence and Catholic seminaries. 'Geographically, we are going to start in Palo and all the way south towards McArthur at the moment,' Reilly said.
Photo: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, president of Catholic Relief Services (left) and Archbishop John Lu of Palo review damage to the cathedral in Palo