As an initial financial assistance to the victims of the recent Typhoon Odette that totally devastated many areas around the Philippines, Pope Francis expressed his sincere gesture of solidarity by donating 100,000 euros (or around P5.8 million) that would be channeled through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
According to the Holy See, “This contribution, which accompanies the prayer in support of the beloved Filipino population, is part of the aid that is being activated throughout the Catholic Church and which involves numerous charitable organizations, in addition to various Episcopal Conferences.” It can be recalled that seven days after the typhoon hit the Philippines, the Pope asked the faithful to pray for the Philippines before the child Jesus, Sr. Sto. Niño, and with the invocation of the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, during his Angelus last December 19, 2021 in St. Peter’s Square.
In the press release published by the Vatican last Tuesday, January 18, 2022, the said donation would be allocated for the rehabilitation of the homes and churches of the severely affected areas following the onslaught of Typhoon Odette. To this day, the social arms of the church, has been providing help in the conduct of relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the dioceses that were tremendously hit by the typhoon. These Dioceses include Surigao, Tagbilaran and Talibon in Bohol, Maasin, Cebu, Kabankalan and Dumaguete in the island province of Negros, Taytay and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.
By far, Caritas Manila has already distributed P20 million cash assistance to the said areas while Caritas Philippines, headed by the National Director Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, continues to personally visit areas to extend financial aid, as well as determine the extent of damages brought about by the recent calamity.
On the assessment report made by the United Nations Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, the damages made by Typhoon Odette can be comparable to Supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013 – as it damaged 1.4 million houses, affected 514 towns and cities, caused power outages, and wreaked havoc to approximately eight million Filipinos.