Manila church aid agency prepares to respond to disasters

Philippines braces for possible fallout from destructive Typhoon Hagibis
Manila church aid agency prepares to respond to disasters

Caritas Manila volunteers prepare relief goods for distribution to disaster-affected areas. (Photo courtesy of Caritas Manila) 

The social action arm of Manila Archdiocese says it stands ready to address the needs of those who might be affected by disasters as a strong typhoon passes by the Philippines this weekend.

"We are ready for any eventualities," said Father Ric Valencia of Caritas Manila, adding that the church aid agency is always ready to provide immediate aid to communities.

The priest warned that natural disasters usually hit the country during the last quarter of the year. "That's why we make sure that we are always ready," he said.

Philippine meteorologists earlier warned that powerful Typhoon Hagibis, packing winds of 200kph and gusts of up to 245kph, would pass the Philippines this weekend.

The typhoon is moving north northwest at 25 kilometers per hour and is expected to make landfall in Japan on Oct. 12.

Forecasters said the typhoon will affect parts of the southern Philippine region, which will experience scattered rain and thunderstorms.

The Philippines has endured 15 tropical cyclones this year. The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually.

Father Valencia appealed for donations to fund Caritas Manila's disaster preparedness programs. The priest said the relief goods that the organization prepare are not only for times of calamities. "We always try to ensure that we will have reserves," he said.

Earlier, Caritas Manila urged Filipinos to be "earthquake-ready" by having an emergency bag in case a big earthquake occurs.

The organization has prepared at least 500 "Go Bags" both for distribution to various affected communities or dioceses as well as for individual and corporate purchase, for families, offices and communities to be ready in case an earthquake strikes.

In April, Caritas Manila distributed several bags in communities affected by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit Pampanga Diocese, north of Manila.

"Caritas is focusing not only on emergency response but in disaster preparedness," said Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila.

Aside from Caritas Manila, other social action centers of various dioceses across the country have also expressed readiness to respond to calamities.

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