WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. dioceses raised $24.5 million in the special collection taken for relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.
The amount collected includes $6.4 million specifically designated for humanitarian aid, which will be sent directly to Catholic Relief Services, reported the U.S. bishops’ Office of National Collections.
The bishops’ Administrative Committee agreed to divide the remaining $18.1 million equally between humanitarian aid and long-term church reconstruction and other programs.
Under the arrangement, CRS and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines each will receive $9.05 million.
“Both humanitarian and church needs are significant,” Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on National Collections, said in press release. “When the delegation visited the Philippines in early February, they were able to see the needs firsthand.”
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the CRS board of directors, who was part of the bishops’ delegation to the Philippines, said the decision was reached to split non-designated funds because the island nation has no insurance system for church property.
“Through conversations with other church aid agencies, it has become clear that our aid is absolutely necessary. Very limited funding will be available for the church, aside from our support through this collection,” he said in a press release.
Overall, CRS has received $44.1 million from various sources for its storm-related humanitarian programs in the Philippines directly related to the storm, which swept through the country’s central island in November.
The Philippine bishops’ conference has agreed to specific parameters on use of the funds. Archbishop Schnurr said the U.S. bishops wanted to ensure that money will be shared across the wide area affected by the storm.
“Based on the information from the delegation, we are confident that the local conference (in the Philippines) has the structure and personnel in place to managed the funds,” he said.
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall across much of the central Philippines, destroying nearly 551,000 homes and displacing 4 million people, according to CRS data.