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Q &A on Typhoon Haiyan with CRS Staffer in the Philippines

November 8, 2013 by

As Super Typhoon Haiyan plows through the Philippines, Catholic Relief Services’ Country Representative Joe Curry has been interviewed by major news outlets such as NBC, CNN, BBC and others. Below is a short question and answer exchange with Joe about Haiyan’s impact and CRS’ response to people in need.

Q: You’re in Bohol right now, 60 miles south of where the Typhoon hit. This is the same location where the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit three weeks ago. What was your experience going through Typhoon Haiyan in the same location?

A: With Typhoon Haiyan there were torrential rains and heavy winds, but it was manageable. The real concern in Bohol is for the displaced families without homes, about 350,000 people from the earthquake. Families had to evacuate to safer locations and sometimes take refuge in damaged buildings.

Q. What kind of damage do you anticipate?

A: There are some reports coming from the government in Leyte. There are reports of flash floods, landslides and wind damage are reported in Eastern Samar and Leyte provinces. Iloilo Island in Western Visayas was also heavily affected. Telecommunication and electricity are interrupted along the typhoon path. Priorities are shelter, food, water and sanitation, hygiene and health.

Q: Could you describe the areas hardest hit?

A: The areas that were hit are largely rural. In rural areas, anywhere from 30-40% of the population would be very poor, including farmers and fishermen, earning around $2-3 per day. The poorest are the people who are most affected by disasters like this. They live in the most fragile houses that are susceptible to damage.

Q: Catholic Relief Services was already responding to the earthquake. Are the Philippines relief efforts strong enough to handle both crises?

A: Catholic Relief Services, our partners and other aid agencies are in the process of mobilizing resources to help the government and the most affected areas. The typhoon was powerful and expansive, hitting a number of islands. It did not weaken as it passed through and hit a number of islands as a super typhoon. Based on other typhoons, like Typhoon Bopha last year, we can expect that this was a catastrophic typhoon, not only for one island but many.

The Philippine government always makes a great effort to reach those in need, and works through its local city and municipal governments (much like towns or counties in the US). The typhoon is coming after a string of recent emergencies, including the Bohol Earthquake on Oct 15, flooding in Manila in August, and armed conflict in Zamboanga in September/October.

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10 Comments

  1. […] Catholic Relief Services, our partners and other aid agencies are in the process of mobilizing resources to help the government and the most affected areas. The typhoon was powerful and expansive, hitting a number of islands. It did not weaken as it passed through and hit a number of islands as a super typhoon. Based on other typhoons, like Typhoon Bopha last year, we can expect that this was a catastrophic typhoon, not only for one island but many. – Joe Curry, CRS Philippines country representative […]

  2. […] Catholic Relief Services, our partners and other aid agencies are in the process of mobilizing resources to help the government and the most affected areas. The typhoon was powerful and expansive, hitting a number of islands. It did not weaken as it passed through and hit a number of islands as a super typhoon. Based on other typhoons, like Typhoon Bopha last year, we can expect that this was a catastrophic typhoon, not only for one island but many. – Joe Curry, CRS Philippines country representative […]

  3. […] Catholic Relief Services, our partners and other aid agencies are in the process of mobilizing resources to help the government and the most affected areas. The typhoon was powerful and expansive, hitting a number of islands. It did not weaken as it passed through and hit a number of islands as a super typhoon. Based on other typhoons, like Typhoon Bopha last year, we can expect that this was a catastrophic typhoon, not only for one island but many. – Joe Curry, CRS Philippines country representative […]

  4. Eileen Cosby says:

    Dear Mr. Curry,

    Thank you for your work. Does CRS have plans to assist in Guiuan? There is an air strip there, debris free and not under water. It was built by the U.S. Navy and is larger than the one in Tacloban. Why is this not being used for rescue and recovery efforts? The people of this area need shelter, food, medicine and clothing and water.

    Much of the recovery effort has been in Cebu and Tacloban. While great in need, we also are concerned about our friends and family on the East Coast of Eastern Samar where the SuperTyphoon made landfall.

    Do you have partners on the ground already at work in Guiuan (pop. 50K) or Salcedo (pop 20 K)? There are 60 villages in the area who need help and while we understand the problems of looting in Tacloban and the trees down, I have not seen reports of using the air to drop assistance to these areas to get them through the next 3 days or so.

    Please let us know what we can do in the States to be helpful to the people of Eastern Samar too.

    Thank you,
    Eileen Cosby

  5. Amy O'Keeffe says:

    I am a senior health care support worker in one of the largest hospitals in Britain. I don’t have much money but I believe I could be of use to the people suffering in the
    Philippines could be available at any time and would be honoured to help these poor people who’s lives have been devastated.
    Please contact me should you require my help
    Amy

  6. Linda Juliano says:

    The Filipinos in the tri-state Delaware Valley are coming together to send donations in terms of goods and cash donations. As former CRS employees in Manila, my husband and I sent some cash donation recently. Is there a possibility that goods be sent through CRS from the US – if so, how.

    • Jim Stipe says:

      Linda,

      Thank yo for all that you’re doing in the tri-state area. About sending goods, we actually prefer that people donate financially rather than sends goods (like food, clothes, etc.) because the logistics and practicality of getting those goods shipped and distributed can be very challenging.

      Thanks,
      CRS

  7. sylvia halsey says:

    Former teacher, retired, also husband can machine build anything. Willing to come at our own cost, of course, if you have a place to use us. thanks.

  8. Robert Cotnam says:

    I have a brother living in Leyte Phillipines and have no way of reaching him to see if he and his family are okay. He doesn’t seem to have working email at this time. Where can I inquire about this family?