11/13/2009, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Typhoons: 300 thousand Filipino families still need help

by Santosh Digal
Church and Catholic organizations provide food to the flood affected population. So far a total of 1.6 million spent. Archbishop of Manila: "Do not just pray for the flood victims, we must comfort them and help them start over."

Manila (AsiaNews) - One month after the passage of storms Ketsana, Parma and Mirinae, 300 thousand households (1.3 million people are) still depend on humanitarian aid. Among these 130 thousand have lost everything and are living in temporary shelters. So far, Caritas and Catholic organizations have helped 126 thousand families (667 thousand people) and distributed food worth 1.6 million euros. In sensitive areas, hundreds of priests, religious and seminarians also offer spiritual and psychological assistance to victims listening every day to the trauma and the stories of the people.

"Prayers for the flood victims are not enough - says Card. Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila – we must pray with them and support them to help them start over. " In an appeal he urges priests and religious to provide people with " spiritual aid as well as material aid". For the bishop this is the only way to overcome the traumas caused by devastating floods.

In recent months, four typhoons hit the region of Manila and the northern island of Luzon, causing 1128 deaths, 1.3 million displaced persons and damage to the economy for 300 million euros. To date, approximately one third of the capital is still off limits.

The population of the two regions is also facing an bacterial epidemic that has infected nearly 3 thousand people, with 175 dead in Manila alone.

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