Bishops and Caritas launch fund drive for typhoon victims
by Santosh Digal

Vinta hit the island of Mindanao violently displacing 118,596 families,leaving 164 victims and 176 missing. The affected communities already suffering from the devastation of the Marawi siege. The prayer of Pope Francis and the appeal of Card. Tagle.

Manila (AsiaNews) - Caritas Philippines and the National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) of the Episcopal Conference (CBCP) are hoping to collect a target of 5.8 million pesos (about 97 thousand euros) in aid to be allocated to the communities affected by the recent tropical storms.

"The emergency caused by typhoon Vinta is worsened by the fact the population already suffer from the devastation produced by the Marawi siege of. Most of the families affected have been forced to leave their homes by the war and are living in camps and tents, "says Rey Henderson, head of communications and development of the partnerships of Caritas Philippines, to AsiaNews.

Henderson adds:  "With the typhoon Vinta these communities have really lost everything. Nassa and Caritas Philippines are appealing  for an initial figure of 5.8 million pesos, in order to respond urgently to the need for food rations, hygiene kits, blankets and emergency supplies. In the meantime, aid for the Marawi crisis is underway with the provision of drinking water and warm clothes, vital to these families ".

Henderson makes an appeal to support the campaign to raise additional funds for relief efforts and first aid. It aims to provide aid for up to 3,000 families, or 15,000 individuals, in the southern provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Misamis Oriental.

The violence with which Vinta hit the island of Mindanao caused the displacement of 118,596 families, 164 victims and 176 missing. Speaking before the Angelus prayer on December 24th, Pope Francis recalled and prayed for the victims of the environmental disaster: "I wish to assure my prayer to the population of the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines, hit by a storm that has caused numerous victims and destruction. May God the merciful welcome the souls of the dead and comfort those who suffer from this calamity ".

The archbishop of Manila, Card. Luis Antonio, Tagle, has urged Catholics to help the victims of Urduja and Vinta, who have swept the archipelago of the Visayas and the island of Mindanao a few days before Christmas. "We at Caritas Manila are ready to accept your donations, which we will send to various churches and dioceses in Visayas and Mindanao. Christmas means helping each other, just as Jesus did ", said Card. Tagle.