Philippines rebuilding 6 months after devastation of Typhoon Haiyan

Elizabeth Tromans has been leading Catholic Relief Services' emergency relief and reconstruction in the disaster area.

May 07, 2014, 16:08 ET from Catholic Relief Services

BALTIMORE, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The biggest storm ever to make landfall, Super Typhoon Haiyan, smashed through the Philippines on November 8, 2013. More than 1 million homes were destroyed or damaged, leaving four million Filipinos without shelter.

Catholic Relief Services has provided emergency relief and shelter support to nearly 200,000 people and hired 2,000 survivors to help remove debris.  

As communities struggle to recover, the six-month anniversary comes as a timely reminder of the strength of the Filipino people and their ability to bounce back.

Elizabeth Tromans says that the key to the reconstruction is the spirit of the Filipino people. "I don't know of any other people in the world quite like the Filipino people who are so full of joy," says Tromans, noting how deeply grateful they are for the help they received from the United States.

"To all those who've welcomed me..., as we rebuild together I hope that every day brings more roofs on houses, more jobs restored and more peace into your hearts," she says.

In islands that depend upon coconut farming, more than 33 million coconut trees were damaged or destroyed. Through Catholic Relief Services (CRS) 38,000 families (190,000 people) have emergency shelter, clean water and sanitation, and some 4,000 tons of debris cleared.

Six months on, CRS is now working on rebuilding permanent shelters, repairing or constructing 750 homes so far. Some 4,500 small farmers have received seeds, fertilizers and tools. Cash-for-work -- clearing debris -- has provided much-needed income for 3,200 storm-affected Filipinos, pumping $300,000 into the local economy. Water pumps, latrines and hand-washing stations have been built at six schools.

Catholic Relief Services has worked in the Philippines since the islands' liberation in 1945.

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SOURCE Catholic Relief Services