Catholic Relief Services in the Philippines is making preparations to send staff to areas most affected by a powerful storm that ripped across the northern parts of the country on Monday. Typhoon Utor — called “Labuyo” in the Philippines — packed wind speeds of 124 mph, and killed at least one person, according to news reports. Several fishermen who were in the path of the storm are still missing.
CRS monitored the course of the storm and is poised to respond in the hardest hit areas, including Luzon in Aurora province in the northwest of the country. The typhoon, described as the strongest such storm in the world so far this year, destroyed nearly 80 percent of the infrastructure in Casiguran, a town in Aurora province, according to CNN affiliate ABS-CBN.
CRS has a long history of responding to typhoons across the Philippines, including most recently to Typhoon Bopha (“Pablo”) in December 2012 and Typhoon Washi (“Sendong”) in December 2011, both of which hit the southern island of Mindanao. In the aftermath of last year’s storm, CRS provided clean water, shelter and hygiene kits to thousands of people, and cleared mud and debris in the most affected areas.
The Philippines is vulnerable to typhoons, floods and other natural disasters. CRS and our Church partners frequently respond to emergencies by providing victims with urgent items like food, blankets and housing materials.