MANILA, Oct. 23, 2016 – The Catholic Church through its social action arm, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, has started utilizing “Alay Kapwa” emergency funds amounting to Php 2 million to support the on-going relief operations for families affected by Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima) in Northern Luzon.
According to NASSA/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, the funds have been initially allocated to address immediate needs such as food packs for affected families in the most affected dioceses. Among these dioceses are those located in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and Benguet.
“We are expecting bigger needs in the next few days as we still wait for the data of the on-going rapid needs assessment of the Caritas network and other church groups in the affected dioceses,” said Gariguez.
Rapid needs assessment
The priest said Cagayan expressed the immediate need for food items and sleeping kits, while Isabela requested shelter repair kits. Benguet, on the other hand, wanted livelihood interventions.
Based on the latest situation report of NASSA/Caritas Philippines, Caritas-national finalized deployment and response plans yesterday, Oct.22, with Caritas Española and Caritas Luxembourg, and will start rapid assessment Monday, Oct.24, with CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands).
Gariguez added that Caritas Manila is ready to distribute relief goods in Tabuk, Kalingam and Apayao.
Through strong coordination with other humanitarian organizations, NASSA/Caritas also partnered with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) and SkyEye to provide aerial footages of the affected areas to help response actions.
Assessment teams from the Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA) were also deployed earlier to Isabela.
“NASSA/Caritas Philippines is directing the overall coordination with the social action network of the dioceses, and the international Caritas confederation,” said Gariguez.
The Church’s local emergency funds called “Alay Kapwa” is the Lenten evangelization and fundraising program of the Church to raise consciousness and funds for calamities and major social concerns.
Through these local funds and support from Caritas Internationalis, NASSA/Caritas was able to implement various relief and rehabilitation programs for typhoon victims in the Philippines.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the development, advocacy, and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. (NASSA / Caritas Philippines / CBCPNews)