In October 2015, four Egan Journalism Fellows joined Catholic Relief Services on a one-week reporting trip to the Philippines, where CRS and its local partners are responding to climate change and carrying out a three-year recovery program after Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and destroyed thousands of homes. CRS responded immediately after the typhoon hit and has since repaired or rebuilt more than 20,000 storm-resistant homes.
During the trip, the journalists, working in Catholic media, met with people who lost homes and loved ones and are now working to rebuild their lives. They also spoke with members of the local Church, climate change experts and local government about the impact of climate change on the disaster-prone nation. The fellows also got a firsthand look at how CRS helps communities and local government to prepare for future disasters.
“At the moment, I am overwhelmed with all I have seen this week,” wrote Joanna Gardner, one of the fellows, in a blog post during the trip. “I’m overwhelmed by […] the unfairness of the fact that a changing climate, which these people did the least to cause, will mean that these kinds of tragedies will, without doubt, continue. However I am also overwhelmed by the resilience of these people, by their kindness, their amazing sense of community, the stories of heroism and courage that I’ve heard this week.”
The Egan Journalism Fellows and Content from the Trip
- Land Tenure Issues Complicate Rebuilding After Disaster Strikes
- Video: Catholic Relief Services Continues Recovery Efforts Following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
- Commentary: Have Mercy for Our Earth
- Philippines: Day One - Just Economics
- Keeping Above Water
- A City Transformed
- Tragedy and Hope
- An Advent Call to Action on Climate Change
- "Why Should I Be Angry at God?"
- Think You've Got It Rough?
- You Can Take the Mommy Out of the Home, But You Can’t Take the Home Out of the Mommy
- Jeepneys, Fried Bananas, and Jungle Jim
- Philippines Face New Dawn After Devastating 2013 Typhoon
- Tablet Reporter Sees Philippines Recovery
- Recovery Continues in the Philippines
- Rebuilding Lives After Typhoon Haiyan
- Filipino Spirituality Aids Recovery in the Islands
Addie Mena has worked as Washington DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency since 2013. She has a Comparative Literature degree from Princeton University and served as the editor of the University's Journal of Religious Life. Follow her on Twitter at @AddieDMena.
"We got to see so much of the country and really delve into the stories and experiences of what people lived through in the typhoon. The highlight for me was probably our time on Leyte, visiting the communities in Tacloban and Palo that suffered the brunt of Typhoon Yolanda [Haiyan]. It was incredible to see how the communities there been able to rebuild their lives and protect against future storms. Additionally, people’s willingness to share was so moving." —Addie