Several dioceses in the Philippines have temporarily shifted the focus of their relief efforts from families affected by the pandemic to those hit by a typhoon that made landfall on May 14
Father Rex Paul Arjona, head of the social action center of the Diocese of Legazpi, said his office is solving “one problem at a time” to cushion the impact of the disaster.
The priest has already activated the diocese’s social action center into an emergency response unit as typhoon Vongfong entered the country.
Father Arjona said the diocese has already offered its facilities to be used as evacuation centers.
“We started to accept evacuees in our churches,” he told LiCAS.news.
Out of the diocese’s 47 facilities, including the diocesan seminary, only two churches in danger zones have remained closed.
The priest said strict implementation of quarantine protocols will be observed in evacuation centers, “but our main concern now is to keep everybody safe from the typhoon.”
Typhoon Vongfong is moving slowly westward at 15km/h with maximum sustained winds of up to 155 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 190 km/h.
The priest said parishes have already emergency relief packs that are good for at least two days.
Father Arjona called on the faithful to open their homes to typhoon victims but reminded everyone to ensure that protocols against the coronavirus disease are observed.
In the Diocese of Sorsogon, Father George Fajardo said churches have been opened as temporary shelters for evacuees.
“So far, we have enough supply of food items to aid those who will be severely affected by the onslaught of the typhoon,” he said.
The priest said the diocese’s Kindness Station will remain open for those who want to share and people who are in need of food and basic necessities.