Diocese brings food packs, shelter kits to ‘Odette’ victims

The Diocese of Dumaguete, in collaboration with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) Caritas Philippines, continues to bring relief aid to victims of Typhoon Odette in Negros Oriental as it gears up to start distribution of shelter kits.

Fr. Hendrix Alar, emergency program leader of the diocese’s Command Center for Typhoon Odette Response, said they are getting ready for the next round of distribution of food items and hygiene kits to the displaced families and individuals.

“Odette” ripped through Visayas Region last December 16, leaving a trail of devastation on its path.

The majority of the towns in central and northern Negros Oriental were ravaged by the typhoon, the strongest to hit the Philippines last year.

“A team from Barangay Tinago here is currently helping in the packing of relief goods for distribution to 800 families, in collaboration with the NASSA Caritas Philippines and Caritas Manila,” he said in an interview on Monday.

The relief goods will be distributed to 300 families in Jimalalud, 250 in Tayasan, and 250 in Paniabonan, Mabinay as soon as the packing is completed.

The diocese will then begin distributing shelter kits, comprising galvanized iron sheets, to parishioners pre-identified by their parish priests, whose houses were damaged by the typhoon, Alar said.

“With the type and scale of the disaster, it was decided on the sixth day of the aftermath of Typhoon Odette to create a command center as a separate unit from the Commission on Social Action for a focus and exclusive operation,” he said.

Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes visited Bais City and Manjuyod on the fourth day after the onslaught of “Odette”, bringing 56 boxes of foodstuffs and water and some cash donations, that he handed over to the parish priests.

Cortes also visited Bindoy, Ayungon, Tayasan, and Jimalalud days later to also inspect damages on churches and hand over relief aid, Alar said.

A rapid assessment was also conducted by Fr. Cecilio Gordoncillo, director of the Social Action Center of the diocese, and Eden Rose Sularte from Caritas Philippines.

The command center, he said, is responsible for carrying out emergency management and ensuring the continuity of relief operations for Typhoon Odette victims.

He said they are in constant communication with donors and beneficiaries, and “works within the designed programs of NASSA Caritas Philippines, and other command centers of the Catholic dioceses that were hit by the typhoon”.

“The bishop emphasizes that we only augment the efforts of the government for together we rise from these trials,” Alar said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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