Manila, Philippines, Mar 19, 2014 / 15:45 pm
More than four months since the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, the people of the Philippines remain in the process of rebuilding their lives, an aid worker there says.
"Steps to recovery are on their way and huge challenges lie ahead, but our hope is not lost," said Gilda Avedillo, program officer for Caritas Manila's disaster risk reduction and management program.
"Now Caritas Manila is organizing meetings and training to discuss, analyze and monitor the plan of action and its steps," she told CNA March 18.
Caritas, a Catholic relief agency, reached out to victims of Typhoon Yolanda -- as the storm was known locally -- together with its partners immediately, providing priority needs relief assistance, and continuing with various rehabilitation and reconstruction projects.
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, hit the island nation Nov. 8. Nearly 6,000 were killed by the typhoon, and millions were displaced from their homes. Caritas Manila is focusing its efforts on the areas of Leyte, Samar, Iolio, and Cebu.
"The impact of the destruction is immense and funds are certainly needed," Avedillo said.
She noted that six chapels in Leyte are being rebuilt, and there are many more proposals for livelihood, scholarship, and reconstruction assistance being considered by Caritas Manila.
In Bohol and other regions, a "cash for work program" has been initiated, as have "livelihood programs" which employ the displaced to clean debris and perform other labor.
Avedillo lamented that "children and youth have been affected the most, with respect to their academic education."
Considering this, Caritas has partnered with Filipino dioceses to provide scholarship subsidies for students. Children from poor families and those active in pastoral activities have been shortlisted for various technical, vocational, and university courses with the Youth Servant Leadership program.
More than 3,000 students from typhoon-hit regions have been shortlisted for a four-year, $445 scholarship subsidy under the program.
Catholic Relief Services, the international charity organization of the Church in the U.S., has contributed to building more than 20,000 homes, and has provided clean water, sanitization, and livelihood programs to many of the displaced.