November 15, 2013 — Typhoon Haiyan not only brought down buildings, houses, power lines and trees but also created tidal upsurges similar to tsunamis in destructive power that contributed to the death of thousands, according to Jesuit Father Charlie Cenzon, assistant professor at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
“Roads within the major cities are still being cleared up. Electrical power may not be restored for a month. Communication facilities are just slowly being restored. There’s hardly any news from the more remote areas,” Fr. Cenzon wrote in an email on Nov. 14.
Of the nine Jesuit-run schools in the country, all but one was spared from the wrath of the typhoon, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda, said Fr. Cenzon. Loyola College, on the island of Culion, sustained considerable damage, but all those at the college took refuge at the height of the storm and are safe.
Fr. Cenzon noted that the typhoon, which made landfall more than five times on different islands in the country, comes on the heels of several other major disasters in the country, including a flood and an earthquake — all in a span of four months.
“Even as Typhoon Yolanda was still raging in the middle region of the country last Nov. 8, most of our universities and schools had already begun planning, organizing and mobilizing students, faculty and staff for fund drives and relief operations,” Fr. Cenzon wrote.
Jesuit institutions in the Philippines are currently accepting donations to help with the relief efforts in cooperation with the government, military, private sectors and the international community. To contribute, visit the Philippine Province Jesuits' website or the New York-based Philippine Jesuit Foundation's website.