A delegation representing several Catholic groups in Canada is travelling to the Philippines, by invitation of Development and Peace, to visit communities affected by super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. The delegation will witness firsthand some of the reconstruction projects being put in place by Development and Peace and its local partners to help communities recover from the devastation of the storm.
The delegation includes Most Rev. Michael Miller, Archbishop of Vancouver; Most Rev. Jean-Louis Plouffe, Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie; Pat Kennedy, President of Development and Peace; Arthur Peters, Executive Director of Share Life Toronto; Fran Lucas, National Chairperson of Community Life of the Catholic Women’s League; Sr. Nida Fe Chavez, General Treasurer of the Sisters of St-Joseph of Toronto; and Patrick Fletcher, Senior Advisor for Theology and Social Doctrine at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The group will be accompanied by Development and Peace Executive Director Michael Casey; Programs Officer Jess Agustin; and Communications Officer Kelly Di Domenico.
On November 8, 2013, the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical storms on record. It caused the destruction of up to 90% of infrastructure in some cities and left an estimated 14 million people in need of aid. In response, Development and Peace launched an appeal that raised more than $13 million (CDN) for relief and reconstruction efforts. After providing for immediate humanitarian needs, the organization has now put in place a three-year reconstruction program that will support communities in rebuilding infrastructure, as well as strengthening community ties, bolstering local economies and helping communities develop greater resiliency to future disasters.
The delegation is travelling through the Visayas region of the central Philippines from August 16th-25th and will be visiting some of the most-affected zones, including the city of Tacloban on the island of Leyte, as well as the islands of Samar and Cebu. In addition to meeting with several of Development and Peace’s local partners, including Caritas Philippines-NASSA, Urban Poor Associates, and Catholic Relief Services, the delegation will meet with Bishop Soc Villegas, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines; Bishop Broderick Pabillo, President of Caritas Philippines-NASSA; and with his Eminence Luis Antonio Tagle, Cardinal of Manila.
“We are pleased to bring this delegation to the Philippines to witness the courageous work and resilient spirit of the local communities affected by this terrible disaster. It is because of the generosity and solidarity of Canadian Catholics and others who contributed to relief efforts that this important recovery work can take place,” said Michael Casey in anticipation of the visit.