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Media CenterCRS Readies Response to Super Typhoon Rai

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Manila City, Philippines:
Jomari Guillermo
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
63 917-8487893

Baltimore, Maryland:
Brittany Wichtendahl
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Dec. 21, 2021 – As damage from Super Typhoon Rai becomes clearer and assessment teams have reached central and southern Philippines, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is preparing to respond with shelter kits, water purification kits and hygiene supplies. The storm, which made landfall several times in southern and central Philippines on Dec. 16 and 17, caused flooding, landslides, storm surges and widespread damage to agriculture and property worth billions.

Typhoon Rai displaced more than 400,000 people and caused nearly 400 deaths, with many areas still inaccessible by road and telecommunications still down. This number could rise in the coming days. Thousands of homes and businesses were severely damaged or destroyed, as were fishing vessels, schools and other community services. Electricity and telecommunications will take weeks to restore.

“CRS staff and partners on the ground are assessing the damage caused by Typhoon Rai,” said Karen Janes Ungar, CRS’ country representative for the Philippines. “We have prepositioned 10,000 emergency shelter kits, 2,000 water purification kits, 1,700 hygiene kits and 1,700 cooking kits for distribution in hardest-hit areas.”

“We are concerned for those in coastal areas, particularly elderly, children and the disabled. We are also concerned about the safety of families in evacuation centers especially since COVID-19 continues to be a threat,” she added.

Typhoon Rai has affected more than 1 million people across 10 regions and forced thousands to flee their homes fearing a repeat of Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Hours before Typhoon Rai’s landfall, CRS’ partner Caritas and local churches worked with governments in evacuations and early warning dissemination.

Government preparations and community evacuations ahead of the typhoon helped save many lives, said John Rezel Day, CRS emergency program manager in the Philippines, but there’s so much to be done for aid to reach thousands who are reeling from Rai’s extensive destruction.

Aprilyn Villamar, an emergency program officer in the Philippines who is deployed in Southern Leyte where Typhoon Rai made landfall twice on Dec. 16 said, “around 70 to 90% of homes were destroyed, with no roofs and walls.” Water is also a major concern. With water distribution disrupted, supply dwindling and reservoirs contaminated, people form long queues at water refilling stations.

“People need ready-to-eat meals, water, thermal kits and emergency shelters, but delivery of humanitarian aid remains a challenge because many roads are not passable and not yet cleared of fallen trees and electric posts,” said Villamar. “Many families also need livelihood support. Fishers lost their boats and farmers their crops.”

In southern Philippines, some families affected by the typhoon in Surigao are traveling at least three hours to access markets and banks in Butuan City. The islands of Siargao and Dinagat, which also bore the brunt of Typhoon Rai, remain isolated due to damaged ports.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Jennifer Hardy

Associate Director, Global Communications

Jennifer Hardy
December 21, 2021

Based in Boston, Massachusetts

Jennifer Hardy is Catholic Relief Services’ Associate Director for Global Communications. She previously filled the role of Regional Communications Officer for Asia, where she worked as the point person for media, actively connecting journalists with engaging stories about CRS’ work throughout Asia. Jen traveled extensively throughout...More