12/23/2021, 15.32
PHILIPPINES
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Bishops’ Conference calls for help to typhoon victims, no to ‘lavish’ parties

CBCP president Bishop David urges the faithful to give up “lavish Christmas parties” and help instead the communities Visayas and northern Mindanao affected by Typhoon Rai. The death toll has reached 375, including a priest. In Cebu, Verbite missionaries opened their doors to 44 poor families. Rescue teams reached the city of Malabuyoc after only a week.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), issued an appeal just before Christmas calling on the faithful not to spend “on lavish Christmas parties and exchange gifts” but rather do “whatever we can” to help “relief operations” in communities hit by super typhoon Rai (known as Odette in the Philippines).

The official death toll currently stands at 375, but thousands of families have lost everything. To help the affected communities, the CBCP is organising moments of prayer and solidarity on 25 and 26 December.

Proceeds raised will go to Caritas, which is involved in relief operations in the 10 dioceses most affected, in the Visayas and northern Mindanao Island.

In Cebu, Verbite missionaries opened their doors to 44 poor families left without water or electricity by the typhoon.

The Archdiocese of Cebu reported that a priest was among the dead – Fr Elisha "Leo" Fernandez served as parish priest at the Santo Tomas de Villanueva church in Badian.

Meanwhile, rescue teams finally managed to reach Malabuyoc today, a week after the typhoon. The collapse of two bridges had cut off the city from the rest of Cebu province.

A convoy of vehicles brought supplies, including rice, water and other essential goods. About 90 per cent of the town’s 4,000 houses suffered damages with 20 per cent a total loss.

On Bohol Island, a well-known tourist destination, the situation is also desperate. Some 98 people have died with 16 still missing. The lack of drinking water remains the main challenge.

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