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Caritas’ next goal: Building disaster resilient communities

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Suzanna Tkalec, Caritas International Humanitarian Director, and Caritas Philippines national director Archbishop Rolando Tirona during a press conference in Manila on Thursday.

MANILA, August 6, 2015— Caritas Philippines is seeking to build “sustaining resilient communities” in the next phase of its rebuilding work in areas struck by typhoon Yolanda.

Archbishop Rolando Tirona, Caritas Philippines national director, said in the second phase they want to empower the communities with focus on capacity-building and community-managed disaster risk reduction activities.

The church’s humanitarian agency focused its first phase on building back structures such as disaster-resilient houses and on restoring the livelihood of those affected.

“This year, we will be empowering the communities further,” said Tirona, adding that the second phase, which ran from April until March 2016, is part of a three-year program in nine Yolanda-affected dioceses.

Financial management

He said the proposed interventions include the formation of various people’s organizations within the communities that would maintain and repair the shelter, water, and sanitation facilities.

Also, the program amounting to Php 432.15 million involves financial management trainings for livelihood beneficiaries, ecosystem restoration, and forging of long-term partnerships with local government units on disaster risk reduction management.

The whole program aims to reach about 184,750 individuals from the archdioceses of Cebu, Palo, Iloilo, Capiz, and the dioceses of Puerto Princesa, Aklan, Antique, Borongan, and Calbayog.

This year, the target includes the construction and repair of 920 shelters, the installation of 2 piped water systems for at least 2,616 households, 220 protected wells for 4,097 households, and sustainable livelihood for 7,312 households.

Transparency

Caritas spent a total of Php 816 million on the first year of its rehabilitation program, and was able to construct 3, 117 houses for typhoon survivors.

Suzanna Tkalec, Caritas International Humanitarian Director, said the network has provided around US$140 million to continue supporting the local Church’s three-year program.

“These programs are geared towards strengthening and building stronger communities to help people recover for a more productive life,” Tkalec said.

Since the Philippines is one of the world’s disaster-prone countries, she said community-managed disaster risk reduction activities aims to prevent disaster nightmares such as Yolanda from happening again.

“We want to prepare communities for eventual typhoons,” Tkalec said.

Tirona also said Caritas is making sure that “every penny is well accounted for” by institutionalizing financial monitoring and evaluation policies both in the national and diocesan levels.

“This is our commitment to the donors, to every Catholic around the world who entrusted these funds to us,” Tirona said. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)


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