» 11/11/2013, 00.00
Filipino Bishops: Faith of Catholics stronger than Typhoon Haiyan
The President of the Episcopal Conference launches a message of hope to a country ravaged by "absolute pandemonium" , as it was described by the head of the Red Cross . Over 10 thousand estimated victims, but the toll is still tentative. Solidarity of the archbishop of Seou who offers prayers and a contribution for emergency response. Haiyan / Yolanda reaches Vietnam, but downgraded to a tropical storm.
Manila ( AsiaNews) - No typhoon
or flood will ever defeat the "strength" of the Filipinos , the cataclysm
that has " devastated " the center of the country "may even be
the worst the world has ever seen", but faith in God is "even stronger". This was stated
by the president of the Philippines Bishops' Conference, Msgr. Jose
Palma, in a message meant to instill "hope" in a nation brought to
its knees by the passage of Haiyan. Meanwhile,
the operations of rescue teams for the survivors continue and the body count -
according to still partial estimates - is more than 10 thousand dead. The
head of the Philippines Red Cross described the devastation caused by Typhoon -
renamed Yolanda on the archipelago - as "absolute pandemonium". Yesterday
the Angelus Pope Francis asked for prayers and "concrete" help for
the Philippines. This morning the Archbishop
of Seoul Msgr. Andrew
Yeom Soo- jung sent his condolences to Card. Luis
Antonio Tagle , Archbishop of Manila and assured the prayers of the South
Korean Catholics , the Archdiocese of Seoul also sent 50 thousand dollars for emergency
operations of aid and assistance , along with a special collection on Sunday
24th of November in all the parishes.
Initial reports speak of at least 10 thousand deaths in Tacloban
alone, a city of 200 thousand people about 600 km south- east of Manila,
hundreds of victims scattered in other towns overturned by the typhoon, even if
the count is only partial and more time is needed for a more accurate
assessment . According
to the Philippine Civil Protection (the National Disaster Risk Reduction and
Management Council , NDRRMC ) nearly one million affected are families, the equivalent
to 4.28 million people. More
than 405 of them, adds Unicef, are children or teenagers under the age of 18.
In various parts of the
Philippine archipelago homes, schools and even an airport have been destroyed
or badly damaged. The
international rescue machine has been set in motion, but there are still many
difficulties in reaching the most isolated and remote areas, where the effects of
the passage of the typhoon are not yet clear. The
Philippine Consul General in the United Kingdom pointed out that "the
world has never seen a storm like this before". Rescue
efforts are concentrated in the eastern province of Leyte, where the emergency
is most serious. President
Benigno Aquino has not ruled out the introduction of martial law or the
declaration of a state of emergency in many parts as hooligans have already
started looting, while unidentified victims are buried in mass graves.
the last hours Haiyan touched down in the north of Vietnam, near the border
with China , but its force has been greatly reduced to the point it has been
downgraded to a tropical storm , and it seems to have caused no major
disruption although the authorities in Hanoi had
ordered the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people .
the Filipino Catholic Church urges the population to have courage and faith in
this time of great adversity. Archbishop
Palma observes that "no calamity or natural disaster can quench the fire
of our hope." The
prelate ensures the presence and participation of the entire Episcopal
Conference in this time of trial and invites the faithful to turn to God "in
this time of national calamity ," as every Filipino has always done "
in the last 400 years." From
11 to 19 November a novena of prayer will be held across the country for the
victims of Typhoon Yolanda and the earthquake that hit the same areas in recent
Mass and prayer will be offered for the dead and comfort for their families. Finally,
all parishes are invited to promote fundraising for emergency response and
August, two people died and thousands were left homeless in the north of the
Philippines in the passage of the typhoon Utor , which hit the north of the
country . Church and Catholic organizations
immediately set to work to bring relief to the people , in a nation hit by at
least 20 typhoons each year ( Utor was the 13th ) . Moreover typhoons ,
tropical storms , hurricanes are very frequent during the summer season in many
parts of east and south- east Asia, where the warm, moist air, combined with
the low pressure creates the ideal conditions for the formation of these
2001 , the passage of Typhoon Washi in the Philippines caused 1,200 deaths and
300,000 displaced , and destroyed over 10,000 homes.
Philippines, survivors battle for aid. Manila disputes the UN estimate of victims
The situation of the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan is increasingly desperate: food, water and medicine are lacking. The army opens fire to disperse looters. The President lowers number of the dead, an “emotional” overestimate of immediate aftermath. The bishops call for "transparency" in the management of funds for aid.
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Fr. Gariguez, executive secretary of the organization, appeals to the new government to shed light on the investigation into billions of pesos spent on recovery projects. In 2013, the typhoon struck 11 million people, and many of them never received aid. The president-elect has promised to tackle corruption in six months. Find out how this money " has been spent would be a good start."
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Philippine Church: Maximum transparency in the management of post-Yolanda funds
The Bishops' Conference has collected to date 7.7 million US dollars in donations to help the reconstruction of the areas devastated by the typhoon. "Every single peso - says the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat for the social activities of the Church - will be monitored from beginning to end".
For Filipino bishop, natural disasters are dealt with through mutual aid and solidarity
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