12/19/2011, 00.00
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Help flood victims, says archbishop of Cagayan de Oro

Mgr Antonio J. Ledesma makes an appeal. The death toll now stands at 700 people with an additional 800 still unaccounted for. The prelate urges help for the homeless. Caritas and other Catholic associations are in the forefront of the aid operations for flood victims.
Cagayan de Oro (AsiaNews) – “The situation in the flooded areas is critical. I urge everyone to pray for the thousands of families affected by the disaster and provide help to buy humanitarian aid,” said Mgr Antonio J. Ledesma, archbishop of Cagayan de Oro. The city is one of the areas that suffered the most from Typhoon Washi last Saturday. The death toll now stands at 700 people with more than 800 people still unaccounted for. Most of the victims were children. Hundreds of unidentified bodies have been buried in mass graves because of fear of epidemics. Yesterday, in his Angelus prayers the pope mentioned the dead and the thousands of homeless people.

Mgr Ledesma told AsiaNews that the Filipino Church is in the forefront of aid operations to help the 35,000 people displaced. “Hundreds of volunteers from Caritas and other local Catholic associations are working day and night in the evacuation shelters set up by local authorities in public schools in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City,” he said.

Over the next few days, parishes across the country will collect aid and hold prayer vigils for the affected communities.

Overnight on 16-17 December, Typhoon Washi unloaded in a few hours as much water as in an average month, forcing rivers and streams to break their banks. In the hill regions, dozens of landslides wiped out entire villages. On the coast, hundreds of boats that were out fishing ended up dispersed by winds of up to 90 km an hour. Since yesterday, the Coast Guard is picking up bodies that were taken out to sea. On land, about 10,000 soldiers are involved in the rescue operations.

Sources told AsiaNews that the responsibility for the disaster lies with the authorities who allowed construction along riverbanks and the coastline.

They slammed the rescue operators for the lack of preparation in the event of a disaster of this magnitude. “Despite the weather warning, the authorities did not implement any evacuation plan,” they said. “Many people drowned in their sleep.”

Each year, dozens of typhoons hit the Philippines, causing death and destruction, especially to agriculture and the infrastructure. Last September, Typhoon Nesat killed more than 100 people; in 2009, the country was brought to its knees by tropical storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma. In Manila alone, more than 100 people were killed and some three million were forced from their homes. In some urban areas and in northern Philippines, floodwaters remained for months and even after they receded, residents continued to suffer from the effects of damages caused in the storm and typhoon. (S.C.)

Upon request of Mgr Ledesma, we are providing the bank information for anyone who would like to make a donation to the flood victims.

Branch: BPI CDO
Account name: Roman Catholic Archbp of CDO Inc.
Account: 9330-0014-42 TNX 4 D
Aid to flood Victims
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See also
Mindanao: outpouring of solidarity for flood victims
Typhoon Washi, Manila declares a national emergency. First burials en masse
Mindanao, landslide leaves dozens of gold diggers dead and 150 missing
Growing unemployment in the Philippines, also due to corruption and waste
Typhoons: 300 thousand Filipino families still need help


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