Archbishop Kurtz traveling to Philippines to help typhoon victims
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's archbishop is on a mission to help people still struggling months after a devastating storm.
With winds up to 195 miles per hour, Typhoon Haiyan left the parts of the Philippines in shambles, killing more than 6,000 people and displacing millions.
"It really broke my heart to see how the people really lost their loved ones, their homes," said Philippines native Evelyn Baluyot.
Members of Louisville's Catholic community, like Baluyot, quickly joined in helping with the relief effort.
Nearly three months later, Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz knows work there is far from done.
"It's one thing to see a picture, it's another thing to physically see what's on the ground," said Kurtz.
Saturday, the Archbishop will leave to see the country for himself on a trip sponsored by Catholic Relief Services. Archbishop Kurtz says the organization raised about $10 million nationwide in the aftermath.
"That's part of the reason I'm going, to see what progress is being made and what needs to be done beyond that, to be in solidarity with people, and also see how we can help in the restoring of the churches," Kurtz said.
He will start in Manila before traveling to some of the most extensively damaged regions.
"'How do you be present with someone who suffered so much?' I said it's a mission of mercy and the first thing you do is listen," Kurtz told WDRB.
Kurtz says he also hopes to remind people that rebuilding homes and churches and providing safe water and food takes time.
"There's that initial surge of trying to bring about emergency help, but then the process of rebuilding things takes long," he said.
Baluyot says she's proud of his effort: "Really happy that he'll see my countrymen and visit impacted places."
Archbishop Kurtz plans to blog about his travels to the Philippines. To read his blog, click here.
Kurtz is traveling with other leaders from the Catholic Church, and they are set to return on February 7.
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