Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos left homeless this Christmas in wake of catastrophic Typhoon Rai

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos will be left homeless this Christmas in the wake of the catastrophic Typhoon Rai, many without clean water, power, food, telecommunications or medicine. At last count around 662,000 were displaced by the storm, and at least 159,000 homes have been damaged. 

Typhoon Rai, which slammed into the Philippines last week on December 16, brought torrential rain, flash floods, landslides and devastating damage to five regions, causing 375 casualties and directly impacting 1.8 million Filipinos.  

“This is the worst storm since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013,” says Aloysius Canete, Caritas Australia’s Global Humanitarian Emergencies Lead. “Since then, organisations like Caritas Philippines have been working to better prepare communities for disasters, so we’ve managed to reduce the death toll significantly.” 

However, the overall destruction and damage is still really high – we can save more lives now, but people will be living without basic essentials like water and power for weeks. I’m really saddened to hear that my fellow Filipinos don’t have homes this Christmas – particularly in Cebu where my family is from. Christmas is so important in the lives of many Filipinos and this Christmas will be a very difficult one for hundreds of thousands of people.” 

“There is immediate and urgent need on the ground for shelter, food, clean water, fuel, sanitation support, hygiene supplies and medicine. We also hope that roads, power and telecommunications are restored as soon as possible without these it is much harder to reach vulnerable communities.”  

Our partner, Caritas Philippines, is currently assessing needs on the ground in the affected areas, and they will also be distributing emergency relief over the coming days through the Church networks and local Caritas organisations.” 

“During this crisis we welcome any support from the Australian community, and we urge people to donate to the Philippines. So many Filipinos come to Australia to live and work, and I know that many Filipinos are looking to our neighbours for support during their hour of need.” 

Caritas Australia has pledged to support the Philippines through the Asia Emergency Appeal, to support the emergency response and rebuilding efforts after Typhoon Rai.  

Visit or call 1800 024 413 toll free to provide much needed support to the Philippines by donating to our Asia Emergency Appeal.  

Media contact: Jessica Stone 0490 684 867 / 



Aloysius Canete, Caritas Australia’s Global Humanitarian Emergencies Lead is available for interview. 

Fr. Tony Labiao, Caritas Philippines’ Executive Secretary is available for interview from the Philippines.