Catholic Relief Services needs help funding temporary shelters for 1,500 Filipino families who lost their homes in Tropical Storm Washi, which struck Mindanao last Dec. 16-17, CRSâ€™ Philippines country representative Joe Curry told Catholic San Francisco.
He said nearly 3,000 people displaced by the storm are still living in camps and in public buildings.
CRS has played a major part in aid relief to storm victims and is the only aid organization providing temporary shelters, said Curry, who was in the Bay Area June 18.
Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Francisco have been among the most generous contributors to the typhoon relief effort, he said. In the initial response, donations from the archdiocese were $51,000 out of $143,000 from the West Coast and $250,000 in total U.S. contributions.
Mindanao is not typically in the path of Pacific storms and was largely unprepared when Washi â€“ known locally as Typhoon Sendong â€“ struck in the middle of the night with 18 inches of rain. The storm killed at least 1,250 people and initially displaced 80,000 â€“ 8,000 permanently.
The cities of Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan were decimated, with neighborhoods swept away in a few hours, CRS said. Flooding destroyed 13,585 homes and partially damaged another 37,559.
â€œWith a disaster this size it can take a long time to move people into permanent houses â€“ up to two years â€“ but what do people do from now up until the time they have a permanent house?â€™ Curry asked.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to bridge the gap with a transitional shelter, a low-cost housing unit.â€
CRS has built 850 units so far at a cost of $400 each and plans another 1,000. [More]