Caritas network responds to Cyclone Nina in the Philippines

27 Dec 2016   |   Media release   |   Philippines   |   Emergency Relief

Local Caritas staff, partners and volunteers, part of the Caritas international network, are already responding with emergency assistance and support to those on the ground, following a powerful category four cyclone that struck the Philippines on Christmas day.

Cyclone Nock-Ten, also known as Nina, struck the coast of the Bicol region, in the North East Philippines, at roughly 6:30pm on Christmas Day, causing significant damage in Catanduanes and Camarines Sur provinces.

Caritas Australia has joined the global Caritas response, pledging an initial AUD $40,000 from its Emergency Response Fund.

Caritas Australia CEO Paul O’Callaghan expressed admiration for the efficiency of the response from the National Caritas and other partners in the Philippines.

"The efforts of Caritas Philippines and other partners in pre-positioning essential relief materials and evacuation centres has helped save communities that would otherwise have been more badly affected by the typhoon." Mr O'Callaghan said.

According to Caritas Philippines (NASSA), at least 3000 people have been evacuated in Catanduanes and the Catholic Diocese and Local Government Units are coordinating all response actions to maximise resources, especially the distribution of relief goods.

Pre-emptive evacuation has been applied to most of the affected localities and food remains the top priority need. Local news sources reported that over 218,000 people spent Christmas in evacuation centres.

In other parts of the Bicol region, Caritas Philippines is monitoring storm surges and flooding as the Bicol river basin may cause a major flood. Several areas are without electricity.

The cyclone made a total of eight landfalls, including in the capital Manila, where heavy rains and winds have been reported.

Caritas Australia's partners in Manila, Masbate and Camarines Norte are reporting no casualties as yet, though monitoring of the impacts, particularly in the agricultural sector, is ongoing. Caritas Australia's partner SPACFI supports agricultural training programs in Camarines Norte and is featured in the 2017 Project Compassion appeal.

The Caritas network is one of the largest humanitarian aid networks in the world. Our Emergency Response Fund enables Caritas Australia to work with local partners to respond quickly and appropriately to humanitarian emergencies around the world, whenever and wherever they occur.

Caritas Australia is keeping the people of the Philippines in our thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to assist the people of Philippines, you can donate to the Caritas Australia Emergency Response Fund.

Caritas media contact: 0407 536 130

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