Retired Archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick provides relief in Philippines

(WJLA) - The devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban and elsewhere in the Philippines was witnessed firsthand by Washington’s retired Archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

We Skyped with him this morning, as he was safely back in Manila.

"It looked like there were several bombs that were dropped all over that island,” he said.

McCarrick is there with Catholic Relief Services – its efforts include giving out thousands of tarps for temporary shelters. But he is also there as a spiritual leader, saying that on Sunday, mass was held in the ruins of a cathedral in Palo, a small town south of Tacloban.

"It was really in a sense, solidarity…that they're not alone, that Catholic people in the U.S. worry about them -- all the people in the United States worry about them," he explained.

International relief efforts are also kicking in, as the U.S.S. George Washington is now a hub for the biggest humanitarian effort ever in the Philippines.

McCarrick told us that some of the roads are now cleared and passable, allowing help to reach more isolated areas. But he adds that the faith of this largely Catholic country is being tested right now:

"They're going to need food, they're going to need shelter, they're going to need medicines. But all these things -- they're going to need a lot of love."