After the MW7.2 strong earthquake in Bohol in October 2013 and a super-Typhoon Haiyan struck Philippines in November 2013, the devastating destruction wreaked and left 10 million people in the Visayas region affected. A death toll of over 6,000 people, 27,000 injured, and to date 1,700 remain still listed as missing.
In the immediate aftermath, many Catholics in Singapore jumped forward to help. CHARIS received over S$1 million under the Humanitarian Aid Fund. The donations have since been allocated to various Catholic organizations based in Singapore and The Philippines who are working with local communities in reconstruction efforts.
ACTS Singapore in partnership with the FMA Sisters in The Philippines also received a grant from CHARIS for home repairs and purchase of boats for a village in Eastern Samar, Leyte. The Sisters are now into the rehabilitation phase of post disaster support. So it was quite timely to receive the grants for the next level of support to the affected communities.
The fishing boats will be a critical part of a newly formed cooperative in one of the Barangays where fishing is an essential livelihood to feed the community and to restart self-sustenance and livelihood redevelopment. The first steps of organising the local community and getting approvals for the formation of cooperatives is already underway. The FMA Philippines has placed a social worker on site as well, to plan and prepare the logistics and requirements. ACTS Singapore plans to make a site visit to Leyte and Samar in May to review the redevelopment plans and needs on the ground.
Our support to the FMA sisters in their outreach didn’t just start at this rehabilitation phase. As soon as we heard about the devastation from the earthquake in Bohol last October, followed by the typhoon in November 2013, private fund raising started and was sent to the FMA Sisters in Cebu and Manila, where round the clock relief goods collection and packing centres were running. These Sisters have been stoic and tireless in their daily prayer life, administering to the schools they run and have had the additional pressure of planning and executing relief efforts.
Some Singaporean friends also had the chance to encounter with the Sisters, local volunteers and those affected when they personally delivered water filters donated by CHARIS, bringing them directly to the Sisters in Cebu. They joined relief hand-out road trips to affected areas in Northern Cebu and areas near Talcoban.
Recently in March, the FMA sisters in Cebu received a tidy sum of fund raised by Daniel and Helena Lee. Immediately, this was dispatched into the relief operation at Ormoc Leyte, Northern Cebu and Baatayan for food and water and critically, the purchase of housing materials for home repairs. The materials given to the families were galvanized iron sheets, marine plywoods (for the walls of the house), umbrella nails, plain sheets and common nails. One of the pictures shows the recipient family of Daniel and Imelda Minoza. They were able to put up the galvanized iron sheets for the roofing and plywood for the walls of their house. Mr Minoza earns his living as a tricycle rider. Many others in his community have a similar job, whilst others are labourers and farmers who are struggling to now eke out their destroyed livelihood.
While the building materials delivered are critical to roofing and walls rebuilding, the needs of this ravaged land are multifold, many are still asking and waiting for more funds to be made available for the construction of basic shelter and a simple home.
A picture speaks volumes and we would like to share with you the faces of the people who are picking up and trying moving on in their lives with the help of ACTS Philippines.
Alternatively, you can pick up an appeal flyer on the Humanitarian Aid Fund from your local parish office. Or you can print and complete our downloadable donation form to send a crossed cheque made payable to
"Humanitarian Aid Fund" to CHARIS at 55 Waterloo Street, #07-02, Catholic Centre, Singapore 187954.
The Salesian Sisters saw the need for education, human promotion and development of youth, especially of children and young women, particularly in the area of women and youth education, primary education and skills training. Read more at their website >