Königstein – 4 November 2016. Three years after the devastating cyclone Yolanda touched down on the Philippines, the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has taken stock: the pontifical foundation has helped the affected dioceses with more than 1 million euros in aid. The relief money was used for emergency assistance as well as for the reconstruction of churches and church buildings. On the island of Leyte, ten entirely or partially destroyed churches have in the meantime been rebuilt in the Archdiocese of Palo alone. According to the archdiocese, 72 of 76 churches sustained damage during the cyclone.
In a letter to Aid to the Church in Need, the archbishop of Palo, John F. Du, expressed his thanks to benefactors, “You have strengthened our faith knowing that God never forgets us, for you are there to respond to the calling of God to help us. Thank you for being there during the time that we need you the most.”
On the Philippine islands of Leyte and Samar, approximately 10,000 people were killed and about 4.3 million lost their homes when Typhoon Yolanda, also known internationally as Haiyan, touched down on 8 November 2013. The high number of fatalities was primarily due to the tidal waves unleashed by the storm, while the devastating destruction in the cities and villages along the coast was mainly wrought by the strong gusts of wind. Wind speeds of up to 380 km/h were measured during the storm. The Cathedral of Palo as well as the airport of Tacloban, the capital city of the province of Leyte, were among the most severely damaged structures.
Today, Typhoon Haiyan is still one of the most severe tropical cyclones to have been observed since accurate records began to be made of weather events.
The aid organisation will continue to support church rebuilding projects on the Philippines such as the large seminary of the Archdiocese of Palo.