Bishop of Palo: typhoon Yolanda, faith helps rebuild
by Santosh Digal

People have grown. Their faith has matured in the trial.  In 2013, the disaster affected 3,424,593 families in nine regions, causing the death of 6,193 people and injuring another 28,689. “[P]eople have a strong sense of sharing and cooperating with one another in a sense of communion,” Mgr Du said. In 2015 Pope Francis visited the affected regions during his apostolic journey. The pontiff’s visit was a joy and a blessing for everyone.


Manila (AsiaNews) - Super typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines in 2013 has helped people's faith mature in an authentic manner, says Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du of Palo (Leyte).

"Typhoon Yolanda was a blessing in disguise. It destroyed property worth of millions and we lost several precious lives and faced untold suffering, pain and loss in the aftermath of it, yet we did not lose our faith in God that enabled people to rise to the occasion and have greater deal of resilience. This enabled us to rebuild our lives, homes, churches, convents and livelihood," he told AsiaNews.

On 5 November 2013, super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the country, leaving behind a path of death and destruction. Considered the most powerful storm in recorded history, it affected almost 3.5 million families in nine regions, causing the death of 6,193 people and injuring another 28,689. Some 1,061 are still missing.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as of April 2014, 12,139 villages were affected in 44 provinces, 591 municipalities, and 57 cities. Private NGOs estimate that about 10,000 people might have died.

"Now when we look back in the aftermath of the typhoon, I can firmly say that our people have a strong sense of sharing and cooperating with one another in a sense of communion as they struggled to build their lives over the years,” Mgr Du said.

"Church attendance on Sundays and other solemnities days are bigger than before,” he added. “They do many common activities for the Church and communities of their own maintaining their solidarity and unity. The typhoon has strengthened people's faith and they have changed and a sense of community is strengthened. People have received many blessings now”.

During his apostolic journey in 2015, Pope Francis visited some of the regions affected by typhoon. Immediately after the terrifying typhoon, he offered prayers and urged everyone to help the victims rebuild their lives.

"The visit of Pope Francis to some of the regions affected by the typhoon was such indescribable joy and blessings for all. He made a big difference in everyone through his solidarity, prayers and presence," Archbishop Du said.

The overwhelming generosity of people and various agencies around the world has help the dioceses affected by the typhoon in a big way. "We thank all of them for their prayers and support, he added.

Many had initially thought that the typhoon was a 'curse', but now they realised that it was a blessing for everyone. People have grown. Their faith has matured in this trial and has become a matter of great trust in God and His ways, the prelate said.

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