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Caritas rushes aid to Philippine disaster

 The Caritas network is on the scene of the disaster that overwhelmed a rural area in the Philippines on Friday, as a massive landslide buried at least one village and left hundreds dead and thousands missing. An estimated 200 people were killed, but that toll will probably rise as many of the 1500 missing could have suffered the same fate, based on estimates by the Red Cross. Some local media were reporting that as many as 3000 people may have lost their lives. At least one village, including its full schoolhouse, was buried after nearly two weeks of heavy rains finally made the mountainside above give way. Emergency personnel were digging in the search for survivors. Just a few houses were left standing, according to initial reports. "Our prayers are with the people of Leyte island and the Philippines as the scope of this tragedy continues to unfold," said Duncan MacLaren, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. "We also wish to assure NASSA-Caritas Philippines of our solidarity and support in responding to the tragedy, especially the victims. Please let us know as soon as possible how we can help," he said. Caritas Philippines is on the ground to help in the relief effort and to funnel international aid to the local people. Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations present in 200 countries and territories.