Philippines: Church helps Typhoon Fengshen survivors

 The victims toll for Typhoon Fengshen, that recently hit the western coast of the Philippines, continues to rise. There are over 1,000 dead, over 500 missing, and 65,000 have fled their homes, Fides reports. . In what has been called "a sea tragedy," nearly 800 people were victims in a ferry's capsizing off the coast of Manila, where winds continue to blow at up to 140 kilometers per hour (about 90 miles/hour) making aerial and naval aid transport impossible. The typhoon has been particularly violent, although the archipelago is used to facing an average of about 20 typhoons a year. The entire central region of the Philippines, especially the province of Iloilo, has been submerged in water. "Iloilo has become an ocean," Governor Neil Tupaz said yesterday. In the meantime, the government, the non-governmental organizations, and the Church are working to provide humanitarian aid. The area surrounding the capital city of Manila has also been affected by the typhoon and the population has had to place economic and social activities on hold, in order to avoid the risks. Many of the public services and buildings have been blocked and the government has asked people remain in their homes. During the Angelus on Sunday, the Holy Father Benedict XVI recalled and prayed for the victims of the typhoon. The Church in the Philippines, through the Bishops' Commission for Social Action, Justice and Peace," is organizing an aid campaign throughout all the dioceses, in a solidarity effort. According to information issued by the Commission, in the area of Iloilo, 108 villages have been severely damaged by the typhoon. The volunteers from the Archdiocese of Iloilo have taken action and are set to distribute humanitarian aid for the next three days. Some diocese have already responded to the appeal launched by the Commission, sending contributions. In the Diocese of San Jose, also affected by the typhoon, they are in need of food, clothing, and drinking water. The Archdiocese of Cebu has also suffered damages to houses, public buildings, and churches. At least 30 parishes are in a situation of extreme necessity, with an urgent need for assistance. Source: Fides

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