Misean Cara, the agency which supports the development work of missionaries, has announced funding for eight new projects involved in the Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines.
In all €120,000 has been approved for humanitarian projects which
have been set up in response to the overwhelming needs in the wake of
Misean Cara currently supports 89 lay and religious missionary member
organisations through the provision of finance, advice, information and
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the organisation said it was
channelling Irish tax payer’s money to support the humanitarian work of
Irish missionaries in the Philippines.
With 5,260 people dead, 673,000 displaced, and 11.3 million people in
need of food, Misean Cara said its members were re-focusing their
efforts to isolated areas that have been untouched by general relief
effort to ensure that supplies reach those who need them most.
Tacloban city and many towns on the islands of Samar and Leyte have
been devastated, and the relief effort of many humanitarian
organisations has largely been focused in these areas.
however, less accessible outlying areas that are not receiving help.
For this reason, the Divine Word Missionaries have decided to refocus
their efforts on the Calamian Islands in the province of Palawan.
According to Fr Rodrigo F. Salazar SVD, missionaries from the order
flew to Coron last week “to assess the relief operations. From the
airport in Busuanga [a municipality in the province of Palawan], over a
40-minute land trip to Coron, “it was a terrible scene along the
highway,” Fr Rodrigo recalled.
“Electrical posts were either flattened to the ground or broken into
pieces forcing the wires to clatter with branches, and galvanised iron
blown into pieces from roofless houses littered the ground.”
“In the St Augustine parish hall, which serves as the centre of
operations, sacks of food packs were arranged into groups with labels
indicating their beneficiary-communities,” according to Fr Rodrigo.
“There is a problem in distribution because affected communities are
scattered in the islands. Furthermore, the present weather conditions
with rough seas, has exposed the small boats to vulnerability with some
taking 3 hours to reach the communities,” he said.
Working with local communities and their leaders to identify needs
has been instrumental in helping missionaries re-direct their efforts to
those who need them the most.
“After meetings with the local council, we realised that there will
be no help in the near future for places like little Sitio Danawan and
Fatima in Barangay Daanbantayan or Sitio San Antonio of Barangay
Medellin,” Sr Anne Healy from the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
and Mary explained.
“For this reason our congregation, whose mission is placed in Cebu
City, has now decided to provide humanitarian assistance in these areas
and also to the 1,300 families who have been evacuated to temporary
camps in Cebu City, one of which is adjacent to the Blessed Sacrament
Parish where the Congregation is already working,” Sr Anne said.
In his blog on Wednesday, Mark Mitchell, Caritas Emergency Team
Leader in the Philippines, said it “is a slow process getting the aid
out to those that so urgently need it.”
“Challenges abound: blocked and damaged roads; the airport in
Tacloban has been reduced to a shell but crammed full of local flights
airlines and the heavy-lift C130 defence aircraft from around the
He explained that as every fuel station he had passed was destroyed, it was leading to a shortage of fuel.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been distributing hygiene kits and
a new shipment of water supply materials had just been brought in from
“These will be set up in the next couple of days and provide drinking water to another community,” Mark Mitchell explained.
“It’s difficult to imagine the magnitude of the disaster in the
Philippines. The numbers of people affected become almost meaningless.
Everyone has been affected to some degree,” he stated but added, “But
when you look at individual faces, and you look through the tiredness,
something remains – hope.”