Great Need After Haiyan

Standing water is seen in the altar area Nov. 20 of the roofless St. Lawrence the Martyr Church in the coastal Philippine town of Balangig,a devastated by super typhoon Haiyan (CNS photo/Nathan Layne, Reuters)

Weeks after Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines, Catholic aid workers were continuing their emergency response. “The needs are basically huge,” said Sandra Harlass, an emergency relief coordinator for Malteser International, after returning to Manila from communities across the strait from the worst-hit city of Tacloban. “Ninety percent of the houses are destroyed...most were just washed away from the storm surge.” She said, “Together with the houses, of course, all the food supplies were washed away, all the nonfood items, like blankets, mosquito nets, everything is just gone.” The team of emergency relief assessors found people who had very little to eat nine days after the storm struck. A 15-foot storm surge struck Tacloban after the typhoon on Nov. 8, creating a tsunami-like effect that swallowed up people in its fast-rising floods and left bodies strewn about in its wake. The area suffered most of the more than 5,200 deaths recorded so far.

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