Resident places laundry on umbrella to dry in typhoon-battered city of Tacloban (CNS photo/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters)

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 10 was 1,200 and was rising quickly. Some feared as many as 10,000 people may have been killed when the historic “super typhoon” barreled across the central Philippines on Nov. 8. As the storm blasted across the island, national and international church aid officials lost contact with their local counterparts. “I’m just monitoring the news, and I’m just hoping for the best,” said Josephine Ignacio of Caritas Philippines. The government started a major push to get people out of their homes and into reinforced shelters on Nov. 5. More than a million people heeded the call. Joe Curry, Philippines country director of the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services, said the islands of Leyte and Samar on the easternmost edge of the country were pummeled by 195 m.p.h. winds. Curry said aid workers would have to go island-hopping to get to those in need. More than 9.5 million people are in need of aid and 600,000 have been forced from their homes. Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said, “Despite the precautions, this was beyond all expectations. We couldn’t image a storm of this size hitting the Philippines.” More up-to-date information is available at www.crs.org.

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