When Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines on November 8th, our Salesian missionaries living on the islands responded immediately to help their suffering neighbors—including many children orphaned in the wake of the storm. By quickly coordinating an emergency relief effort on the ground, many lives were spared. But now they are calling for outside help to provide desperately-needed food, water, shelter and medical supplies.
Reports coming in from the ground suggest the devastation is much worse than initially indicated by the media. Cut off from communications and humanitarian supplies, survivors are increasingly frantic as the days wear on. It is imperative to reach as many of them as possible, as quickly as possible, to ensure they don’t perish in Haiyan’s aftermath.
Thanks to an established presence and extensive infrastructure in the country, the Salesians are uniquely poised to respond to the victims’ immediate needs. In fact, because smaller-scale relief efforts were previously underway in several provinces—in response to the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that shook the islands on October 15—food packages, temporary shelter and some medical supplies were already available.
To date, Salesians working with students and volunteers in the Southern Philippines Province (FIS) have assembled 30,000 food packages for distribution to victims. A community of Salesian Sisters along the central coast road has taken in 800 people; another community in the badly-affected area of Lawaan has opened its doors as a direct relief center. Others from the Salesian communities are volunteering their help to government agencies preparing relief packages.
However, with an estimated 637,000 people displaced and desperately roaming the streets in search of food and water, the need remains immense.
Salesian centers across the islands are serving as drop-off locations for in-kind donations, as well as coordinating volunteer help. Now, we must rely on the generosity of our caring friends for the monetary contributions that are so crucial to the survival of the Filipino people.
All donations will be sent directly to the Salesian provincial office in Cebu City, where damage is minimal and supplies are plentiful. Provincial staff will use the money to purchase food, clean water, warm clothing and tarps—which they will then deliver directly to victims in the areas most affected.
In this catastrophic situation, the kindness of our friends means survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan will receive direct, life-saving aid. You can help relieve the physical and emotional turmoil of those whose suffering is unimaginable. Please donate what you can today.