05/19/2008, 00.00
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Asian Catholics helping Myanmar cyclone victims

by S. Digal - M. M. Perera
Two Burmese priests leave the Philippines with aid from Caritas Manila. In Sri Lanka local Catholic groups collaborate with Buddhist religious leaders who will try to get food to cyclone survivors.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Asia’s Churches continue to mobilise in favour of the victims of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. In some cases they are trying to get aid into the country via Catholic channels; in others, they are collaborating with the local Buddhist community.

In the Philippines Caritas Manila is shipping its first aid collected in Manila parishes via two Burmese priests on their way home. Fr David Kyaw Kyaw Lwin and Fr Philip Maka Naw Aung are students in the Philippines but as soon as tragedy struck their homeland they decided to organise a special trip home to bring some relief.

Caritas Manila executive director Fr Anton Pascal said that his agency in coordination with Caritas Internationalis in Thailand and Burmese bishops is organising relief and rehabilitation operations.

The faithful in the Philippines haves responded with generosity to the appeal launched by Mgr Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace. In it he had called for donations in cash and kind (clothes and food).

About a 100 Burmese priests, nuns and lay people are currently in the Philippines for a variety of reasons. All of them are praying for their country and that aid might reach survivors despite obstacles put up by the military regime.

Sri Lanka’s Catholic community is also showing great solidarity towards the victims of the Burma tragedy.

In the island nation Caritas (SEDEC) gave Buddhist religious officials powdered milk and food worth US$ 5,000. Some monks will try to get it to Myanmar.

“Catholic solidarity towards the (mostly Buddhist) Burmese is a duty,” National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC Fr Damian Fernando told AsiaNews. “We still remember the aid that our international friends brought us after the 2004 tsunami hit our people. Let us help this people as soon as possible.”

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See also
Caritas Thailand sending first aid shipment to Nargis victims
Junta says that foreign aid is not needed; Nargis survivors can live on frogs
Cyclone Nargis, pressure on the junta to accept international aid
People of Burma call for democracy and religious freedom
Nargis: more than 100,000 dead, the PIME joins aid efforts


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