A woman stands outside a damaged house in the northern Philippine city of Cabanatuan after a strong typhoon hit the Philippines in 2015. (Photo by Mark Saludes)
Philippine Catholic churches are preparing for the onslaught of a potential super typhoon that is expected to make a landfall in the northern part of the country on Oct. 19.
"We must anticipate the typhoon’s impact to determine our course of actions during and after its devastation," said Father Edwin Gariguez head of Caritas Philippines.
The social action arm of the country's Catholic bishops has already "prepositioned" relief goods in areas where the typhoon is expected to hit.
Father Gariguez, however, said the "most effective mitigating measure" is the readiness of the public.
As of late Oct. 17, Typhoon Haima had sustained winds near 213 kph, making it a major Category 4 hurricane.
Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the central Philippines in 2013 and killed at least 6,000 people, was the world’s strongest recorded cyclone. It had maximum winds of up to 315 kph and gusts up to 380 kph.
Father Gariguez called on the public, especially those living in coastal areas, to monitor government advisories.
"Let us not wait for the storm to come, if needed, let us evacuate and seek a safe place to stay," the priest said.
He appealed to parishes to help people who need to be relocated or evacuated.
The priest said dioceses that will not be affected by the disaster could provide medical, relief, and monetary assistance.
"We can use churches and chapels as shelters and temporary sanctuary for typhoon victims," said Father Gariguez.
Father Augustus Calubaquib, social action director of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, where the typhoon is heading, said social action ministries are already coordinating with government agencies.
The priest also called on the faithful "not to be complacent because anything can happen."
The government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has already put all its units "on red alert."