/ CBCP) - Floods caused by Typhoon Maring "are the worst ever to hit the
Philippines. We need humanitarian aid of all kinds as soon as possible, from
food to medicines. And then we will worry about destroyed homes and damaged churches",
says the Bishop of Paranaque, Msgr.
Jesse Mercado, who along with 2 other priests and dozens of priests and
religious are trying to help the people of the Manila area affected by the floods.
The typhoon made landfall in the capital last August 18. The confirmed dead now stands at 15, with hundreds injured and more than half a million displaced. The government and the Catholic Church are carrying out emergency first aid primarily to stop the spread of epidemics. However, the diocesan funds "are close to collapse."
The Bishop of Balanga, Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos says: "We have spent all we have in medicines and basic necessities. Members of the Social Action Center are bringing aid door to door. There are lots of priests who have suffered damage, the churches are under water up to the knee . We will need to find the funds to get everything back up and running. "
The new bishop of Imus, Msgr. Reynaldo Evangelista, spent the day yesterday travelling around the diocese to understand the extent of the damage. Together with some volunteers he visited 11 parishes that are located near the coast - the area most affected by the disaster - to bring money, blankets and food.
Pilar Laurente, a member of his staff, said: "We received about a thousand food parcels from the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene and together with our help we are trying to distribute them fairly." The Center of the Diocese of Imus has helped more than 1,400 families in the area.
After finishing his own tour of the area, Bishop Mercado stated that "the floods brought by Typhoon Maring are the worst to have ever hit the Philippines in recent years. We will do our utmost to support victims. We ask all Catholic faithful of the country to allocate their donations to this area, which needs everything". Yesterday, Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, asked Catholics to "transform this sorrow into friendship through solidarity".