08/23/2013, 00.00
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Manila: Catholic students rush to aid flood victims

Number of displaced rises to 600 thousand with at least 20 dead. Damage amounts to 2.2 billion dollars in infrastructure and agriculture. Caritas engaged in the distribution of food, basic necessities and medicines. Young Catholics are responding to the call of bishops and priests with donations and volunteer activities.

Manila (AsiaNews / CBCP) - Young Filipino Catholics are at the forefront in relief operations to the population hit by devastating monsoon rains, especially in the area of  Manila (capital of 12 million inhabitants) where displaced people have risen to more than 600 thousand. Meanwhile, Caritas has distributed packages with basic necessities to families in need containing rice, canned food, soups, coffee and drinking water. To avoid the danger of epidemics Catholic activists have collected hundreds of bags for medicines and personal hygiene with soap, detergent and toothpaste. In addition there are over 200 bags of clothes, which are donated by individual parishes of the capital.

According to the latest estimates there are at least 600 thousand displaced people due to the bad weather, which made landfall on the Philippines this week - especially Manila and neighboring provinces - resulting in 20 deaths. Many people are in emergency relief centers, while others have found hospitality from friends and family. A first estimate of the damage comes to losses of 2.2 billion dollars in infrastructure and agriculture.

In a few days the monsoons poured a volume of rain on the area that usually is recorded over a month, flooding nearly half of the capital. To make matters worse the passage of Tropical Storm Trami, which is currently headed towards China. Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Civil Protection launches the alert for the passage of the new tropical cyclone "Nando", which could invest within the next few hit the southern island of Mindanao in the next few days.

In order to contribute to the relief efforts, the Youth Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (ECY) launched an appeal to young people all over the country. In a post on Facebook, the ECY asked to them "to take up the challenge to bring relief and comfort [...] to our brothers and sisters" even this, it adds, "is a way of living the spiritual dimension in the Year of Faith ".

And the request was immediately taken up by many college and high school students who have volunteered to help in the emergency. The Filipino Catholic Action promoted various initiatives in Manila and neighboring provinces, thanks to its presence in many locations across the country (mainly universities). Donations, distribution of goods and basic provisions, voluntary activities and participation in rescue operations, are some of the many initiatives promoted by Catholic activists to meet the emergency.


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