By ZENIT Staff

The Catholic Church’s humanitarian arm will begin to rebuild homes and livelihood destroyed by the world’s most powerful typhoon this year, reported CBCP News.

Caritas Philippines said recovery efforts are underway in Catanduanes and Albay provinces that were hit hardest by super typhoon “Rolly” in early November.

According to Fr. Antonio Labiao, the agency’s executive director, one of the most immediate priorities is rebuilding or repairing homes for thousands of families.

He said a technical team is going back to Catanduanes this week “to signal the start of the early recovery program”.

“We call it the inception program, which includes shelter and livelihood projects,” Fr. Labiao said.

In Catanduanes alone, more than 37,200 houses were completely destroyed, with another 23,783 damaged, according to the government.

Fr. Labiao said that reestablishing a means of livelihood is an equally urgent task, with thousands of farmers and fishermen having lost their sources of income.

About 27,000-hectares of abaca plantation in the province were heavily damaged due to landslides and flooding.

According to the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, this amounts to around P1.3 billion worth of damages to the abaca industry in Catanduanes.

Local officials said that around 13,000 abaca farmers will need to find other sources of livelihoods while trying to recover.

The coconut industry also sustained big losses because of the recent typhoon, and officials said at least three years is needed to revive the agriculture sector.

Several fishing boats were also damaged by the strong winds and storm surges that hit the coastlines.

Caritas has yet to announce the recovery and rehabilitation cost, but Fr. Labiao said the responses to their appeal were “very moving”.

Last week, Fr. Labiao and his team also made a solidarity visit to various communities in Isabela and Cagayan provinces affected by recent flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses.

An initial assessment made by the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao showed that more than 43,000 families have been evacuated at the height of the massive flooding.

Caritas and various dioceses have been mobilizing their resources to respond to the immediate needs of the affected communities.

Fr. Labiao said recovery works must start immediately in areas heavily affected by Ulysses.

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