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Council for Migrants helping seafarers affected by Haiyan



(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People has set up a special fund to assist fisherman and seafarers affected by typhoon Haiyan. The special fund, which will be directed by the Apostleship of the Sea, has an initial contribution of $10,000.

“Our aim is to intervene as soon as the initial phase of the emergency will be over,” said Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People. “We will focus on projects of reconstruction of the social fabric providing material help to the people of the sea.”

He told Vatican Radio the Council has been in contact with the Apostleship of the Sea in the Philippines.

“Together with them we are identifying places and situations that are in most need of a practical and concrete support, such as rebuilding houses, purchasing of fishing boats, engines and nets, not to mention scholarships for orphans,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Archbishop Kalathiparambil with Stefano Leszczynski: RealAudioMP3

Vatican Radio Interview
of Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil

Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the
Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People

20 November 2013

How this special Fund of the Apostleship of Sea for the Philippines came about?

The Apostleship of the Sea is not new to initiatives of this kind. We promoted an international collection immediately after the terrible tsunami that hit a large area of South East Asia in 2004. Then we sprang into action in 2011, following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan. In recent weeks, an earthquake and shortly after a terrible typhoon severely tested the Philippines. As soon as we realized the enormity of the tragedy, we decided to do something, encouraged also by the various AOS centers in the world, who asked us how to help. Of all the requests for help that we have received, we were moved especially by the fishers in Japan, whom two years ago had received subsidies from Apostleship of the Sea International, and now have expressed the desire to offer some assistance to the Filipinos fishers.

Many Filipinos who work as seafarers were away from their loved ones when the typhoon Haiyan disrupted the Asian archipelago. What special assistance have they received?

There have been many initiatives in place in the various AOS centers. Prayer vigils were organized and masses celebrated for the victims. Psychological support was given to those who were coming from the affected areas, free phone cards have been distributed and free access to the internet was given. To be highlighted is the attention shown by the Carnival Cruise which asked the Apostleship of the Sea to deploy Catholic chaplains on some of its ships to offer help and support to the crews, the majority of them being Catholics Filipino seafarers.

What projects will be subsidized by this fund?

Our aim is to intervene as soon as the initial phase of the emergency will be over. We will focus on projects of reconstruction of the social fabric providing material help to the people of the sea.
As in previous disasters, we are in contact with the chaplains of the Apostleship of the Sea in the Philippines. Together with them we are identifying places and situations that are in most need of a practical and concrete support, such as rebuilding houses, purchasing of fishing boats, engines and nets, not to mention scholarships for orphans. For this, let me inform the listeners, that on our website they will find the instructions on how to do the donations.

The web site of the Pontifical Council is: www.pcmigrants.org This is not the first similar project from your Dicastery. Why this particular focus on seafarers?

First of all we have to say that the Pontifical Council is responsible for the overall direction of the Apostleship of the Sea. Considering that approximately one third of the million and two hundred thousand (1,200,000) seafarers in the world are Filipinos, to whom regularly we offer our pastoral care in the Stella Maris Centers in the world, it is natural that we do something for them.
Also, do not forget that the AOS is in charge of fishers too and, from some initial estimates made, it seems that more than half of the victims are poor fishers who have lost everything, not only their loved ones, but also their home and especially their tools: the fishing boats and nets. These poor fishers were living along the coasts of the provinces devastated by super typhoon Haiyan. It will take a long time before they recover from all these losses and we want to offer them a contribution to rebuild their lives and be self-sufficient.




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