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Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines last November, have thanked the people of Hallam for their support on the one year anniversary of the disaster.

Over £78,000 was given by supporters across the diocese to CAFOD’s Philippines Typhoon Appeal alone, which has helped provide food, water, sanitation, permanent homes and fishing boats, as well as helping people who lost everything make a living again in the year since the storm struck.  Schools, parishes and Catholic organisations were among those who donated to CAFOD.

Moira Priestman, Office volunteer for CAFOD in Hallam said, ”We were all moved by the scale of the destruction in the Philippines and the suffering it caused.  It’s heart-warming to hear that our contribution, no matter how small, has made a difference to people’s lives.  We wish them every success in their determination to rebuild their lives and they remain in our thoughts.”

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in the early hours of 8th November with winds of up to 170mph, affecting 14 million people. 6,000 people lost their lives, five million people lost their homes and 33 million coconut trees were destroyed – the main source of income for many.

CAFOD’s Philippines Typhoon Appeal raised £5.4 million in total, and by working alongside local partners the Catholic charity has reached more than 135,000 people so far.

One of the affected families was Prospero and Elena Abuama, who live on the Guiuan peninsula, the first place to be hit by the typhoon.

Elena said, “We were so scared.  There was a terrifying noise, like a whistling and then boom, our roof fell down on the kitchen table where we were hiding and rain was pouring in.  The storm lasted six hours.  We thought we were about to die.”

Typhoon Haiyan sToday, thanks to donations to CAFOD, Prospero and Elena have moved into a new home, specially designed to withstand future typhoons.  Prospero said, “Our new house is better than our old house.  I helped design it and I wanted it to be simple and strong.  It’s a good house and we’re happy.  My message to people who donated is simply, thank you.”

CAFOD’s manager for Hallam Diocese, Angela Powell said, “Typhoon Haiyan was the deadliest storm ever to hit the Philippines, tearing apart the lives of millions.  Thanks to the incredible generosity of people across the diocese we were able to deliver food, water and emergency shelter immediately after the storm.

“We’ve also been able to build hundreds of solid, typhoon-resistant homes for people like Prospero and Elena and we’ll continue to build more over the coming months.  One year on from the disaster the donations we received really have transformed lives and will continue to do so.  Thank you.”