Thousands of Catholic students assist flood victims
Manila (AsiaNews) - Thousands of students and teachers from 15 Catholic institutions in Manila provide daily assistance to the people affected by the September 26th tropical storm Ketsana.
"There is much to be done to rebuild shattered lives - says Maria Christine, a student at the University of St. Thomas - but our hope is to continue offering what we have." Every day, Christine and 50 other students of the Dominican university visit flood victims of the poorest neighbourhoods, handing them bags of rice, bottled water, clothing and medicines. The same service is also offered by other institutions of the city. This is thanks to the funds of Caritas Philippines and a donation campaign organized by schools and parishes. In total, the Church has so far helped about 65 thousand households in 50 affected provinces. Moreover in Manila since October 2 a program has been underway that provides for the distribution of food worth 400 thousand euros to more than 10 thousand families.
Meanwhile, the government, through spokesman Cerge Remonde, has admitted' serious mistakes and negligence "in the organization of relief efforts" during the flood, which caused 300 deaths and flooded about 80% of the city.
According to figures from the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) there are almost four million Philippine flood victims in need of humanitarian aid, including over 375 thousand housed in the temporary centres; 16900 homes were destroyed and damage to infrastructure and agriculture amounts to 93 million euro. In addition, the toll from the typhoon Parma that hit the north of the country on 3 October, is of 16 deaths and more than 300 thousand people forced to flee.