Church, Yolanda survivors in Leyte sign Climate Change Declaration

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MANILA, Dec. 1, 2015— In solidarity with the on-going Climate Conference in Paris, the Archdiocese of Palo Relief and Rehabilitation Unit (Caritas Palo) together with at least 200 “Yolanda” survivors signed a Declaration supporting Climate Change and Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction in Palo, Leyte on Tuesday.

In a statement, Caritas Palo Director Fr. Al Cris Badana cited how important it is for members of the communities to be part of all processes addressing climate change and disaster risks especially after the province experienced the wrath of typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8, 2013.

He also mentioned how the impact of climate change cuts across all sectors regardless of gender, culture, economic or political stature, with the poor suffering the greatest impacts.

Commitment signing

“Therefore, a plan of action to address climate change and disaster risks must be undertaken using community-managed disaster risk reduction (CMDRR) as the strategy,” Badana added.

Also present during the commitment signing are representatives from various church groups and government agencies such as the Provincial Government of Leyte, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Interior and Local Government, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Office of the Civil Defense.

Aside from the declaration signing, the Yolanda survivors from 15 communities in the towns of Palo, Santa Fe, Alangalang, Mayorga, Dulag and MacArthur each gave a presentation of how their communities are presently engaged in community-managed disaster risk reduction (CMDRR) measures and systems.

There was also a mini exhibit of organic products produced by Yolanda survivors to show its support to sustainable agriculture which is part of climate change action.

Php 150-million investment

After the devastation of typhoon Yolanda, the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Palo through Caritas Palo and NASSA/Caritas Philippines helped Yolanda-affected communities in Leyte craft their own resiliency and contingency plans, which were already adopted by their barangays. As of today, Caritas Palo has invested Php 150 million to build resilient communities.

The said communities also installed early warning systems and evacuation plans, which resulted in zero casualties and minimal damages during the onslaught of typhoon Ruby, the strongest typhoon of 2014.

It can be recalled that the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si, highlighted the adverse impacts of climate change on the poor and most vulnerable, and the scale of the climate crisis. (CBCPNews / Caritas Philippines)

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