Nassa rolls out ‘typhoon-resilient’ churches, chapels

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Brgy. Matarinao, Salcedo E. Samar (Photo by Roy Lagarde)

MANILA, July 6, 2014 — Soon to rise parish churches and chapels in typhoon Yolanda-hit areas are more “typhoon-resilient”, the Catholic Church’s social action arm said.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action– Justice and Peace (Nassa), said the structures could withstand strong quakes and storms.

Another purpose this project, he said, is for the structures to also serve as evacuation centers during calamities.

“We did an experimental project about this in Mindanao before but because of Yolanda, we are implementing this in areas hit by the typhoon,” Gariguez said.

The project is part of Nassa’s P60 million pastoral infrastructure repairs program funded by Missio Aachen, a church-based funding agency in Germany.

Nassa, also known as the Caritas Philippines, has also appointed Fr. Emerson Luego, currently the social action director of the Diocese of Tagum, as the project manager.

Gariguez said the project covers 85 churches and chapels that were destroyed by Yolanda last year in four provinces in the Visayas with costs ranging from around P100,000 to P1.6 million.

“We are making sure that the architectural design is strong,” he said. “We also followed the CRS (Catholic Relief Services) design of typhoon resilient houses in rebuilding these churches.”

This project covers the restoration of at least 37 churches and chapels in Palawan; 33 in Leyte, three in Western Samar and 12 in Eastern Samar.

The Nassa official also said that to make part in the rehabilitation and recovery efforts, “we go beyond the materials and that’s the reason for our existence in the Church”.

“If you talk of resilience, it’s not only material things but also spiritual well-being of the people,” he said. (CBCPNews)

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