This past Saturday, a second typhoon hit the northern part of the Philippines. Fortunately the impact was not nearly as devastating as that of the earlier Typhoon Ketsana on the greater Manila area. Typhoon Parma is still hovering over the region, however, causing concern that it will hit the north again—and perhaps harder.
Today, Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member in the US) staff visited the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao to tour some of the areas most affected by Typhoon Parma with Caritas Philippines (known locally as Nassa).
Fr. Manuel Catral, the archdiocese’s social action director, told us that he began contacting parish priests as soon as the storm subsided. A dozen dioceses have reported damage, with hundreds of houses destroyed and many more in need of repair. Diocesan staff provided food to people in immediate need and are now exploring opportunities to help families in the area repair or rebuild their homes.
Although most farmers in the region had harvested their corn before Typhoon Parma hit, the majority will lose most or all of their rice crop. Farmers who were able to harvest their rice before the storm will likely lose it to rot, because they can’t dry the kernels in the inclement weather. The many other farmers who had yet to harvest their rice—either due to lack of time or because the plants weren’t fully mature—will also lose their crop. The typhoon whipped rice stalks to the ground and left excessive water behind that is rotting any plants that managed to stay standing.