Typhoon Rai (local name Odette) slammed into the eastern Philippines on Thursday, 16 December ravaging islands and coastal communities in the eastern Philippines and carving a path of devastation, flooding towns, and cities across the country. It is considered one of the most powerful storms on record to hit the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). The super storm has caused widespread flooding for millions of people hit hard by the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 780,000 people were affected by the typhoon. The typhoon made nine landfalls in seven provinces on 16–17 December. The total population in these provinces is over eight million people. 400,000 people require urgent relief and long-term support, including housing and livelihood assistance.

(Credits: Erwin MASCARINAS / AFP)

Initial assessments by local authorities and relevant humanitarian agencies are in progress. The extent of damages to lives and properties is not yet determined due to the difficulty of reaching out to the affected communities and the lack of power and internet signals. The majority of the survivors are isolated, homeless, and helpless.

Priority needs include food packs, ready-to-eat meals, drinking water, medicine, medical personnel, personal protective equipment, clothing (including footwear and rain gear), cooking equipment and utensils, family kits, shelter, and sleeping materials, hygiene kits, disaster kits, and waterproof bags.

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis during the Angelus appealed to the world to be with the survivors who are hoping to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones in this word: “I express my closeness to the people of the Philippines affected by a strong typhoon, which has destroyed many homes. May the Santo Niño bring consolation and hope to the families most in need; and may he inspire practical help in all of us! The first genuine help is prayer.”

In response to the “cry of the poor”, the Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) is conducting a relief operation in collaboration with the Society of Ex-Camillian Seminarians of Bohol.

As we approach the celebration of Christmas, let us make our sincere wishes for peace and justice in the world felt by the survivors of this super typhoon Rai. You may share your blessings through CADIS:

ACCOUNT: Fondazione Camillian Disaster Service International – CADIS
ADDRESS: Piazza della Maddalena, 53 – 00186 Roma
IBAN: IT13T 03104 03202 00000 08402 70
BANK ADDRESS: Largo di Torre Argentina, 4, 00186 Roma
PAYPAL "DONATE" on the website cadisinternational.org