News / Asia

    Church, Charities Prove Crucial in Philippines Recovery

    Church, Charities Prove Crucial in Philippines Recoveryi
    X
    November 17, 2013 9:46 PM
    The Philippines paused to pray Sunday, nine days after one of the worst recorded storms devastated the central part of the country, killing thousands of people. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Leyte island where churches and charities, such as Catholic Relief Services, are critical hubs for relief and recovery.
    The Philippines paused to pray Sunday, nine days after one of the worst recorded storms devastated the central part of the country, killing thousands of people.  In many of the affected areas churches and charities serve as critical hubs for relief and recovery.

    In this devout Catholic country typhoon survivors are filling damaged churches, looking not only for shelter, but solace.  It is a trying time for priests and nuns, viewed as community leaders, now taking on the overwhelming task of helping distribute aid while trying to make sense of it all.

    The Philippine people have maintained their faith despite repeatedly enduring disasters of biblical proportions, according to the pastor of this Ormoc church, Father Gilbert Urbina.

    “Scriptures describe apocalyptic times in terms of the natural calamities, floods, volcanic eruptions, wars and what the scripture says is we need to be prepared for all this to persevere, these are trying times, have faith,” said Father Urbina.

    At the heavily damaged cathedral in Palo, a town just south of Tacloban, also flattened by the typhoon winds, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the 83-year-old Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., led mass. 

    Speaking to VOA later in the day in Ormoc, he acknowledged some traumatized survivors might initially find scripture inadequate.

    “I think it is probably not, right at the beginning, because at the beginning everyone is hurting so.  And they lost so many, they lost so many friends and family.  And they do not know why God is doing this to us.  Well, in a real sense we say it is not that God is doing this to us, he is allowing these things to happen, probably for a greater cause,” said the cardinal.

    Whatever the cause, a sudden effect is a global outpouring of good will. Among those at the forefront of the civic response: Catholic charities, on the ground in some of the worst-hit communities.

    Martha Skretteberg, secretary general of Caritas Norway, said they are coordinating closely with local Catholic churches.  

    “The people run to the church at the first [chance] in order to get protection, in order to get food, some help.”

    Many who lost their homes in Ormoc were relocated to the area after a 1991 typhoon-generated flash flood destroyed their community.  Now they have to decide whether to try to rebuild here or move on again.

    With her grandchildren hovering about, a 72-year-old widow, Demetria Omega, is hoping to sell some fruit and vegetables. She borrowed $25 to start a modest store in what remains of her residence. Most of her home blew away in the storm.
     
    “I do not even have a place to lie down to sleep, I have to sleep sitting.  I move aside my fruit and vegetables and place on the stand a [plastic] mat that I use as my roof during the day.”
     
    Hers is one of 5,000 households the priest at the damaged church down the road now struggles to provide the barest necessities for body and soul.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JON DOE
    November 17, 2013 7:58 PM
    largest group of catholics in all of asia. they've been supporting the catholic church for hundreds of years.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora