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Comments of Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Chairman, Catholic Relief Services on the Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines


June 2014

Thank you for your support and a special thanks to your parishioners who made this response possible.I would also like to recognize and thank Archbishop Kurtz, Msgr. Jenkins, and Msgr. Bransfield for their participation in this delegation.  The presence of conference leadership was recognized by the Philippine Church and U.S. government representatives in the Philippines.

There was also leadership from our sister Catholic agencies in the United Kingdom and Australia on our delegation which demonstrated important coordination between the most significant international Church actors as well as a harmony of approach.

I am pleased to report that CRS emergency responders were on the ground and working with the local Church (Bishops, Caritas, religious communities) immediately after the super-typhoon, and the first delegation from CRS/HQ and the Board left the USA during our November meeting in the Fall and arrived within a week of the disaster.

Like Archbishop Kurtz, it is important to highlight the commitment and dedication of our team on the ground.  They are, as they are in many countries where we serve, living and working as the Holy Father would want them to – with the poor.

The scale of our work with the local Church is impressive.  Relief operations are targeting 60,000 households with an integrated package of emergency shelter; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene; and household items, and we aim to serve 100,000 households through the three year Haiyan recovery plan focused on restoring communities as well as building the capacity of local institutions.

We witnessed the efforts of our teams on the ground to provide shelter, restore water, and provide opportunities for income generation with compassion and grace, and we witnessed the tremendous resiliency and faith of the Filipino people.

I can confirm that the overseas arm of this conference is strong and representing us well in the Philippines and around the world.

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