09/28/2009, 00.00
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Church rushes aid to Manila flood victims

by Santosh Digal
Church and humanitarian associations compensate for the shortcomings of the government, which lack even an emergency information plan. So far, 106 people are dead, 108 missing and 435,000 people displaced.
Manila (AsiaNews) – Thousands of Manila residents are still trapped by floodwaters caused by tropical storm Ketsana and the government’s unpreparedness.

"We are concentrating on massive relief operations. The system is overwhelmed, local government units are overwhelmed," said Anthony Golez, head of the National Disaster Co-ordinating Council. “We were used to helping one city, one or two provinces but now; they are following one after another. Our assets and people are spread too thinly."

Caritas volunteers and humanitarian associations are trying to cope with the emergency. “Students and other volunteers deployed in the various parishes are handing out food worth 5,000,000 pesos (US$ 105,000),” said Sister Rosanne Mallillin, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action. An additional US$ 146,000 has been pledged by the US Bishops’ Conference.

Local sources told AsiaNews, “Storms hit the Philippines every year. This is why many people were out in the streets in poor neighbourhoods when the rain turned into six-metre high floodwaters.” The disaster is the result of “the absence of a proper emergency information plan and government fatalism.” The authorities “continue to ignore the problem despite past experiences.”

Official sources said that 7,000 people were rescued from the waters.

Government has set aside 4.57 million pesos (US$ 1,000,000), an amount that is insufficient to meet the needs of the over 435,000 displaced people and the thousands still trapped on the roof of their homes.

So far, floodwaters have killed 106 people; 108 are missing and 435,000 are displaced.

In addition to the capital, the government has issued a state of alert for 25 other provinces.

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See also
Thousands of Catholic students assist flood victims
Church aid for Manila flood victims
At least 106 dead and over 400 thousand displaced in and around Manila
Typhoon season starts in the Philippines, 20 dead and dozens missing
After 7 days, searches continue for the missing from typhoon Parma


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