06/24/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Catholic Church helping victims of typhoon Fengshen

by Santosh Digal
Catholic Relief Services with backing from Filipino and US bishops allocates first US$ 25,000 in favour of typhoon victims. Next Sunday there will be a second collection of funds in Cebu diocese.
Manila (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), social service wing of US Catholic Bishops, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have promised US$ 25,000 for the emergency caused by typhoon Fengshen.

“We have already received clearance from our main office to release US$ 25,000 for the calamity victims through the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA),” said CRS country director Michael Frank.

The CBCP said the CRS will send Tuesday an assessment team to Cotabato in the southern Philippines, the hardest hit area, accompanied by NASSA representatives.

About a thousand people died or are missing in the natural disaster and more than 70,000 have been left homeless.

NASSA executive secretary, Sister Rosanne Mallillin, said the archdioceses affected by the typhoon have sought their help, including the archdiocese of Jaro in Iloilo and San Jose de Antique.

Early reports indicate that 108 of 138 villages in southern province of Iloilo were devastated by the floods, whilst the archdiocese of San Jose de Antique wants food, clothing, drinking water and medicines.

Mgr Robert Alesna of Cebu archdiocese said that a memorandum is being prepared for all 144 parishes to express their deepest sympathies to the victims of the typhoon, including the still missing passengers and crew of the ill-fated  ferry ‘M/V Princess of the Stars’ that capsized last weekend off the central island of Sibuyan.

The ferry sank with 849 passengers and crewmen on board on Saturday, out of which 57 of them have been rescued so far. Little hope is left that any of the others might be found alive.

At least 82 villages in Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Zambales provinces were flooded with more than 8,000 families affected.

The prelate said that a second collection of funds will be done this Sunday in diocesan churches during the liturgical celebrations.

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