Typhoon Haiyan victims to live in 'Pope Francis' village

Published 02 April 2014  |  
(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A survivor salvages belongings from her damaged home at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.

Reconstruction work is well underway across the Philippines following the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, last year.

One of the biggest storms in recorded history, Haiyan ripped through the island nation, killing thousands and displacing millions more. In some towns, there was almost total structural devastation, and despite an influx of international aid the Filipino government has struggled to rebuild.

"We cannot allow ourselves to be trapped in a vicious cycle of destruction and reconstruction. We are going to build back better," President Benigo promised in the wake of the crisis.

"The task immediately before us lies in ensuring that the communities that rise again do so stronger, better and more resilient than before," he asserted.

World Vision, however, has warned that many new structures are simply not resilient enough to weather future storms, which are very likely to hit the Philippines again - the nation experienced 25 tropical storms in 2013 alone.

Filipinos are working hard to ensure that they do not experience the scale of devastation that Haiyan brought on the country again, however.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines reports that a new permanent settlement is being constructed in Bantayan, Cebu province and will be named after none other than Pope Francis.

The Pope Francis Gawas Kalinga Village will be made up of 45 houses, each to be occupied by victims of November's super storm. Funding for the project has been donated by the Jesuit-run Xavier School and the Eduational Research and Development Assistance Group.

The decision to name the village after the popular pontiff has been justified by his passion to "inspire Catholics to live the faith through concrete acts", and aims to offer "fresh hope for many families" who have suffered immense grief in recent months.

'Livelihood programmes' are also being organised to ensure that the village becomes a thriving community.

With a large Catholic population, the Philippines is hoping that the Pope will make a visit in January 2016 for the International Eucharistic Congress hosted in Cebu city, which would make him the third Pope to visit the nation after Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II.

Of the rumoured visit, Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, says: "We know that the Pope continues to inspire us and his visit will have an enormous impact on our faith and our Christian life."

Reprints

More News in World