Media CenterLaudato Si’ and Climate Change 2 Years On: Moving Anibong Out of Danger

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Tom Price
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(410) 951-7450

 On the heels of the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, CRS continues its commitment to the values spelled out in Laudato Si’

BALTIMORE, MD, June 14, 2017 – In the two years since the release of Laudato Si’  –  Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on the environment issued on June 18, 2015 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is at work on the ground carrying out the call to help the poor who have done the least to change our climate, but are the most vulnerable to those changes.

At the same time, while the rest of the world has taken action by signing the Paris Agreement, the U.S. government has pulled out of it and stopped supporting the Green Climate Fund, which enables low-income countries to adapt to a changing climate.

“The United States needs to heed the words of Laudato Si’, to reengage with the Paris Agreement and to fully support the Green Climate Fund and other measures designed to help the poor,” said Joan Rosenhauer, CRS’ executive vice president for U.S. Operations.

“They are the ones who are suffering most from our abuse of the environment,” she said. “As the Holy Father said in his encyclical, many poor people live in areas particularly affected by warming temperatures and have few resources to fall back on.”


A perfect example is the seaside Philippine community of Anibong, where generations survived on fishing and agriculture until their home was devastated in 2013 by Super Typhoon Haiyan. The Philippines government declared the coastal area that includes Anibong a “no-build zone.” It is just too dangerous to live there with climate change producing more powerful storms, so Anibong’s 2,400 families have to move.

They are able to do this with the help of CRS. This June, CRS and the community break ground at Anibong’s new home, five miles safely inland. The resettlement site is in Tacloban City, close to key regional facilities and public transportation. It should be completed by the end of 2018.

“This is but one example of so many poor communities around the world affected by climate change, “Rosenhauer said.


The Green Climate Fund, set up alongside the Paris Agreement, was established as the primary way to pay for international climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.  A significant portion of the fund is directed to countries most at risk because of climate change.

“That funding needs to be restored,” Rosenhauer said. “The Holy Father pointed out in Laudato Si’ that richer nations have a debt to the poor ones that can only be repaid by ‘significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programs of sustainable development.’”

The Anibong Resettlement Project is an example of just such assistance. It supports 2,400 families in what was already a poor community (900 by CRS and the rest by the local government). CRS is working to provide what families need to create a better future in their new homes, such as job training and proper health, water and sanitary services.

“So much of the work we do at CRS is responding to the message of Laudato Si’,” Rosenhauer said. “On this second anniversary, the United States needs to recommit itself to that message.”


Around the world, CRS continues to seek new and innovative ways to confront the issues that the changing climate brings to the poor. Across Africa, millions of farmers are adopting climate-smart agriculture by planting better types of crops, using improved tilling techniques and taking measures to preserve water and soil.

In Central America, farmers are learning about crops that will survive as rising temperatures mean the crops they depended on for generations will no longer flourish. In Asia, various disaster preparedness schemes help people predict and prepare for rising sea levels and severe storms.

“We must, as Francis wrote, ‘hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,’” Rosenhauer said.

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Interviews available: Please contact Tom Price, [email protected], 443 951 7245

Photos of the Anibong Resettlement Project:
password: photos


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, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.


After US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, CRS continues its commitment to the values spelled out in Laudato Si'.More