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One Month On and One Million Donated to Philippines Recovery

One Month On and One Million Donated to Philippines Recovery

One month on from Typhoon Haiyan, more than 10 million Filipinos are working hard to rebuild their lives. ‘With a million homes damaged or destroyed and the livelihoods of 5 million people impacted, the scale of need is immense’, says Caritas director Julianne Hickey.

‘However, we’re enormously grateful for the generosity of New Zealanders to meet that need,’ she said. ‘Including $250,000 from the government’s New Zealand Aid Programme, New Zealanders have donated more than $1 million to Philippines relief through Caritas.’

Innovative donation appeals organised throughout the country have successfully raised thousands of dollars for the Caritas response. Auckland’s Rosmini College made $16,000 by adding a simple donation link to their website for alumni and families to make a donation. The Filipino embassy organised a street appeal and a concert and the Ambassador personally presented Caritas with $20,000 out of the $60,000 raised.

During the initial relief phase, funds will go to provide essential food, hygiene kits, shelter repairs and other essential household items for 55,000 families (about 275,000 people) most severely impacted by the Typhoon. The second phase will target rebuilding homes and livelihoods.

Mark Mitchell, an emergency response expert with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, is in the Philippines coordinating the global Caritas relief effort. He says one month on, the urgent needs of food, water, sanitation and shelter are still a priority.

‘It’s difficult to imagine the magnitude of the disaster here. The numbers of people affected become almost meaningless. Everyone has been affected to some degree. But when you look at individual faces, and you look through the tiredness, there is a resilience and hope that remains,’ says Mark.

‘It’s amazing to see how resilient people are. They are not waiting helplessly for the aid agencies to come and clear and build, they are just getting on with it themsleves. The aid agencies are assisting the communities to facilitate their own recovery,’ he says.

Mark says the Caritas response will build in early recovery as soon as immediate needs are addressed. ‘The Caritas Aoteroa New Zealand funds will also help provide boats, seeds and chickens to support people returning to their livelihoods as soon as possible. This way we are supporting longer term recovery to enable the Philippines to be more resilient to the natural disasters which regularly occur in the country.’

Globally, Caritas International network partners have pledged over NZ$10 million towards relief and recovery. The emergency response project is carried out by Caritas Philippines/NASSA through their Diocese Social Action Centres who know their communities, can identify the most vulnerable and are eperienced in delivering aid.

Caritas urges that donating funds to a reputable agency is still the best way to help following a disaster. Unsolicited collection and donation of goods that are not needed or inappropriate for the local context can hinder rather than help humanitarian operations.

Donations to the Caritas Philippines Relief Appeal can be made by:

• Phoning 0800 22 10 22 to make credit card donations;

• Phoning 0900 4 11 11 to make an automatic $20 donation from your phone bill;

• Donating online using a credit card at www.caritas.org.nz; or

• Posting to Caritas, PO Box 12193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand.

Updates on the Caritas response are available at http://www.caritas.org.nz/philippines-typhoon and Facebook and Twitter.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 164 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

ENDS.

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