The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has activated its emergency response units as a strong typhoon hit the country on Dec. 3.
Father Edwin Gariguez, head of Caritas Philippines, said affected dioceses and its social action centers were placed on “emergency mode” as early as last week.
The priest said teams have already been deployed to conduct “rapid assessment” to determine the extent of the damage in communities on the path of the typhoon.
Caritas Philippines has released about US$10,000 as “standby fund” for dioceses that would be needing assistance in their emergency relief responses.
Typhoon Kammuri intensified further with 175 kilometers per hour maximum sustained winds and 240 kph gusts before its landfall in the province of Sorsogon on Dec. 2.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 225,768 individuals were evacuated from four regions south of Manila ahead of the landfall.
Cecilio Guardian III, project coordinator for the volunteer program of Caritas Philippines, said more communities are expected to be affected by the typhoon.
“The good news is that the humanitarian and emergency response units of all the affected dioceses are active and mobilizing,” said Populi.
He said the dioceses have already been prepared for disasters and have allowed local communities to manage and become the first responders.
Populi, however, said the national secretariat for social action is ready to provide relief assistance to the public. “We pray that the damage is minimal,” he said.
Earlier, Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi instructed priests in his diocese to open churches and parishes to serve as evacuation centers.
He also called on the Catholic community to support government initiatives in helping keep parishioners safe.
Earlier, the government shut down Manila’s international airport for 12 hours and several seaports due to the typhoon.
At least 1,506 rolling cargoes, 138 vessels, and 66 small fishing vessels were reported stranded in different ports due to bad weather.