Northern Samar is one of the poorest provinces in which the annual per capita income is 10,600 pesos, while the poverty risk is 52 %. The Diocese of Catarman is the local Church of the province of Northern Samar.
The province of Northern Samar has twenty-four municipalities with twentytwo towns, which are nearby the seashore and only two are situated on a hillside. Five towns are located on islands. Therefore extreme waves and storms often cause calamities and total destruction of houses and farmland. The basic livelihood of people is fishing and farming.
The greatest challenges
Malnutrition remains a significant threat especially for children. This affects the survival rate and the development and growth of young children. Insufficient and inadequate food accompanied by infectious diseases such as diarrhea are reasons for malnutrition. Poor environmental and hygienic circumstances and the poor delivery of health services reeinforce the problem. Based on the malnutrition statistics of the municipality in 2005 we had 22,514 malnourished children, this is a rate of 30% of children population.
Heavy rains, flashfloods and landslides are permant threads. This causes crop failures and heavy damages on houses and equipment. Typhoons are the most destroying events, they hit us one or even two times a year, with more or less power. Sometimes half of the houses are completely destroyed.
The medical supplies are very underdeveloped and half of the people are not able to afford a medical treatment at all. They can also not afford the often very far journey to a physician. The same applies to dental services, opticians and other medical treatment.
Education is also not in a sufficiant condition. Many children are not able to pay for good education, often they can not even afford elementary school supplies like books, exercise books and pens. Some of them have to work at home to help the family to survive, this means that they go to school quite irregularly.