Typhoon Goni wreaks havoc across Manide indigenous lands in the Philippines

11 Nov 20

Typhoon Goni struck Luzon Island in the Philippines last week – the world’s strongest storm this year killing at least 20 people and affecting over 400,000 people, many of whom remain in evacuation centres over a week later.

This super typhoon came just a week after Typhoon Molave killed around 40 people in Vietnam and days after the same typhoon, also made landfall in the Philippines on October 27, where it was called Typhoon Quinta.

Vietnam and Cambodia have also been experiencing some of the heaviest rainfall and flooding in decades in recent weeks. At least 132 people have been killed – with over 100,000 houses damaged in Cambodia alone.

Typhoon Goni’s trail of destruction across the Philippines has left tens of thousands of homes, schools, businesses, roads and infrastructure damaged or destroyed in its wake, along with the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

Many regions are still struggling without power, communications and road access, due to landslides and flooding.

Amongst the most vulnerable are the Manide Indigenous people who live in Camarines Norte, a province located in the Bicol Region of Luzon, Philippines.

Caritas Australia works with the Manide community and other vulnerable families on programs to improve education, access to health care and government services, as well as to increase employment opportunities.

Ate Piday, Program Officer for the Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc (SPACFI) says that the storm has flattened many homes, destroying crops and farm buildings for housing animals.

“People are in need of temporary shelters, they also need clean water, food, kitchenware, hygiene kits” says Ate. “They don’t have any power and communications with the area is difficult. The Manide and other vulnerable families are appealing for support and assistance from the good people of Australia.”

Caritas Australia’s partners on the ground, the Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc (SPACFI) and NASSA/Caritas Philippines and are monitoring the situation, working with other members of the Caritas international network, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Cordaid, and Caritas Germany.

Local Caritas organisations, such as Caritas Caceres, have pre-positioned food packs ready for distribution to the most affected parishes. Caritas Sorsogon has provided hot meals while the Diocese of Lucena has provided rice, noodles and canned goods to the parishes.

The COVID-19 pandemic means that communities in the Philippines are particularly vulnerable in the aftermath of this disaster.

The World Health Organization reports that the country now has nearly 400,000 coronavirus infections and over 7,600 deaths. However, it is difficult to maintain social distancing in evacuation centres and during relief efforts.

In Cambodia, Caritas Australia, through Caritas Cambodia, has been working with local communities to provide shelter, water and food, as well as hygiene and sanitation support, as part of its rapid response to meet immediate humanitarian needs.

With your support, we can continue to support those affected by typhoons and floods across South East Asia.