33-year-old mother works to bring typhoon relief to neighbors

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Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, greets a child in Anibong, a community in Tacloban, Philippines, Feb. 4. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

TACLOBAN City, Jan. 5, 2014 — Shirley Boco wants anyone who will listen to know that the 1,297 people she represents deserve more attention than they are getting as the recovery from November’s Typhoon Haiyan begins to gain momentum.

Boco, 33, is captain of the barangay, or local community, in the poverty-stricken Anibong section of Tacloban. She advocates for a larger cash-for-work program so that more community members can clear debris left by the storm. She wants more shelter kits to be distributed to families living in makeshift housing, or no housing at all, in the poverty-stricken community in the western part of Tacloban. Food packs from nongovernmental organizations could include things other than rice and sardines, she believes.

And Boco worries about what will happen to the fragile homes that have sprouted on the shore since the storm: Many probably will be destroyed again as efforts continue to refloat at least one of the seven large ocean vessels washed farther ashore at the peak of Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda.

People salvaged material to rebuild their homes where they had lived prior to the storm because they had no other option, said Boco, the mother of two sons, ages 12 and 15. People are building temporary housing thinking they may be forced to move again because the government is prohibiting the construction of permanent housing within 125 feet of the shoreline.

“Our people came into our area just to have partial shelter right now because the government has not offered a permanent relocation. Right now, we have to go back to where Yolanda landed,” Boco explained. [Full story]


Catholic News Service

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