Tag Archives: appeal

Philippines typhoon: clean water

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land, with winds of up to 200 mph. But one of the worst aspects of the disaster was the storm surge: huge waves of water speeding inland, up to 25 feet high, destroying everything in their path, carrying cars, trees, even whole rows of houses hundreds of metres from their original location.

In other words, the typhoon was actually two disasters in one: extremely strong winds blowing apart people’s shelter, while a tsunami-like wall of water swept in from the sea towards them.

Please donate to our appeal>> 

Ten-year-old Honeyrea, who was taking shelter in a gymnasium on Leyte island, remembered the moment the storm surge hit. “We were saying a lot of prayers,” she said. “We said the Our Father and prayed the rosary. There was strong wind, and then there were large waves.

“The water came up to my waist. It happened in less than a minute and it was rising fast. We had to run upstairs. I couldn’t stop crying, because my mother was left downstairs.

“Then, the roof of the gym fell through. I was blank for three minutes. My father was talking to me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying.” Continue reading


Filed under Asia, Philippines

Philippines typhoon: one month on

Armoud and his family lost their home in the Philippines typhoon. They have received a shelter kit from one of CAFOD's partners. "All the people here are happy. I am thankful to CRS and all the people who are helping us.”

Armoud and his family lost their home in the Philippines typhoon. They have received a shelter kit from one of CAFOD’s partners. “This was the strongest typhoon I have experienced… I am thankful to all the people who are helping us.”

Please donate to our appeal>>

CAFOD’s Nick Harrop has recently returned from the Philippines.

One month since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, you can see its impact from the moment you land on Leyte island. The roof of Tacloban airport has been blown off. The baggage carousel has been washed away, leaving only its ripped based underneath. The runway is covered in patches of standing water, with wood and corrugated iron swept to one side so that planes can land.

Driving south to the town of Palo is extraordinary. I can’t see a single building that hasn’t been severely damaged. Most homes have been flattened. Sometimes there are signs by the wreckage: “No trisspass!” It’s hard to see how these could be enforced. For miles, there are nothing more than twisted steel shells or haphazard piles of wood. Some buildings have been swept hundreds of metres from their original locations.

There are poignant sights – a giant teddy-bear face-down in the mud, a school sign resting in front of a collapsed building. But there’s also a remarkable sense of activity: carpenters sawing toppled coconut trees, workers in hard hats fixing roofs, bulldozers clearing the rubble. One month on, it is amazing to see the energy and determination with which people are rebuilding their lives.

Working with the local Church, CAFOD has been on the front line of the relief effort. In the first month, we have reached thousands of people, providing food, shelter, clean water, hygiene kits, tools, latrines and cash-for-work schemes through which people can clear debris and rebuild their lives. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Asia, CAFOD, Philippines

Voices from Pakistan: Hidayatullah

AZ_Pak_COFAD_098Help us respond to emergencies as soon as they happen>>

“We had heard that the River Indus was overflowing, but we didn’t think the water would reach our village. When it came, it was very fast and we barely managed to escape with our lives.

“When we returned home, our crops were ruined. And the canal that brought water to my land was filled with flood debris. That meant we had no water and could not grow any crops.

“CAFOD’s partner SPO brought equipment and helped us to clear the canal, paying us 350 rupees per day for labour.

“I used the money I earned to buy food for my family. Clearing the canal also allowed the water to flow to my land again. I am very thankful to people who support SPO, because we have recovered from the floods and I can grow crops again.”

CAFOD’s Pakistan Floods appeal in 2010 raised nearly £3 million. Help us respond to emergencies as soon as they happen>>

Leave a comment

Filed under CAFOD, Middle East, Pakistan

Syria Crisis: new arrivals in Lebanon

Please donate to our Syria crisis appeal>>

caritas lebanon

Staff from Caritas Lebanon distribute shelter materials to new arrivals like Fadiya.

Mike Noyes, CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, writes:

“Last year, I had a husband I loved, a family and a home. Now I have lost it all.”

Fadiya’s eyes and her whole demeanour told the story of the trauma she had been through, as her comfortable middle-class existence in Syria was shattered and replaced by life as a refugee. As we spoke, her aunt sat in the corner of the tent, her back towards me.  She was in formal mourning for her husband, and according to custom was not able to meet and speak with men from outside her family circle.

Fadiya fled Syria with her aunt, her two sisters and their children after their home was destroyed by shelling, which killed her uncle and two cousins. Her own husband had been killed by shelling a few months before that, leaving her to bring up her two children alone.

Now the family are living in a shelter made of timber and plastic sheeting on the edge of a field in Lebanon’s Bekaah valley. Their household is one of about thirty in a small tented settlement, only a few kilometres from the Syrian border, where the barren, rocky hills meet the flat plains of Lebanon’s prime agricultural region.

Many other refugee families live nearby, renting vacant homes or agricultural buildings, or staying with Lebanese families who have received them into their homes. Most have come from Homs, but there are also families from Damascus and as far north as Aleppo.

Fadiya has found a few days work here and there, helping on a farm. It pays $4 per day, which doesn’t go far when you have fled with only the clothes on your back and when your youngest child is sick.

With new refugee arrivals outpacing the capacity of the United Nations to receive and register them, a vulnerable family can wait three months before they start getting official help. Many are struggling to cope. Our partner Caritas Lebanon is working to fill that gap, providing essential support to refugee families before they get registered and appear in the official statistics.

Caritas Lebanon’s team of social workers carries out daily visits to settlement sites and other areas in the Bekaah valley to monitor new arrivals and to ensure that those in need get support.

They’re able to provide foods like rice, pasta, cheese, beans and sugar, as well as hygiene kits with soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and towels and nappies for babies.  Over the winter they also provided stoves for heating and heavy duty plastic sheeting to help keep the tents as warm and dry as possible.

Caritas Lebanon has been able to support about 3,500 families in the area so far, and is currently registering about 50 new families a day.

I could see clearly that Fadiya and her sister already knew the Caritas Lebanon team well, calling them by name. They obviously had trust and confidence in them. Even though they are still in shock from what they experienced before they fled and even though they feel vulnerable living in a tent, the relationship with the Caritas Lebanon team is helping to start the process of adaptation and recovery.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’ve been able to make a strong commitment to support Caritas Lebanon’s vital work. And, because this refugee crisis is traumatic for everyone, we are also looking at how we can help Caritas’s excellent team of staff deal with some of the difficult issues they themselves have to face.

Please donate to our Syria crisis appeal>>

Leave a comment

Filed under CAFOD, Lebanon, Middle East, Syria

Lebanon: children urgently need medical support

Caritas Lebanon provides healthcare to Syrian refugees through mobile clinics. Credit: Evert-Jan Daniels/CORDAID

Caritas Lebanon provides healthcare to Syrian refugees through mobile clinics. Credit: Evert-Jan Daniels/CORDAID

Please donate to our Syria Crisis appeal>>

The parents of eight-month old Amjad came to the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre in Zahle in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon on Wednesday 3 April, looking for help for their sick baby.

The family were Syrian refugees, fleeing the fighting in their country. The baby was pale, listless and had no appetite.

They came to Caritas after one hospital had refused to admit Amjad because of money issues. A Caritas social worker contacted a paediatrician to transfer him to a hospital, but sadly Amjad passed away while waiting for medical assistance.

Our social worker contacted the hospital where he was transferred. They confirmed the death of eight-month old Amjad. No cause of death was declared.

May this angel’s soul rest in peace, a peace he certainly didn’t find in here.

The Caritas team went to check the situation in the settlement where Amjad’s family is living. It seems that one child was diagnosed with tuberculosis but discharged from hospital where he stayed for two days, due to lack of money. There are lots of children and adults showing mild similar symptoms, but at least six children and two to three adults are sick.

We fear an outbreak of this highly contagious disease, especially when considering the deplorable sanitary conditions experienced by the refugees living in this location.

Many sick children have been referred to Caritas from the same camp with similar symptoms.

Najla Chahda, Director of Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre, said: “There is an urgent need to provide medical assistance for these children quickly. We hope that a solution will be found soon for all Syrian refugees, to put an end to this suffering.”

We have committed £50,000 to help Caritas Lebanon provide support to vulnerable refugees. But, with 8,000 people fleeing Syria every day, we urgently need to scale up our response to the crisis. Please donate today>>

1 Comment

Filed under CAFOD, Lebanon, Middle East, Syria