03/11/2010, 00.00
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Way of the Cross for Filipinos affected by drought

by Santosh Digal
The damage to agriculture amounts to 25 million. Energy supplies also at risk. Sister Hener Genie: Our fervent prayers will be rewarded if we continue to put our hope in the Lord.

Manila (AsiaNews) - In the province of Sorgoson (south of Manila), priests, nuns and lay people staged a “Way of the Cross” to pray for an end to the drought, which for two months has devastated the country. "We - said Sister Genie Hener of Sorgoson – marked the Way of the Cross to commemorate the passion and death of Jesus and pray that God will send us  long awaited rain."

Because of the El Niño phenomenon, for the past two months the Philippines has been suffering from a devastating drought. More than 2.5 million tons of rice and wheat have been lost since the beginning of the year and lack of rain has damaged about 800 thousand hectares of fields. The damage to agriculture is estimated at over 25 million, but experts say it could reach 300 million if the phenomenon continues until July.

Sister Genie Sorgoson says that "farmers have lost their hope, their lands are arid and thousands of hectares of fields have been destroyed." For her the only way to allow people to move forward is to continue to pray and do everything possible to tackle the drought. "Our fervent prayers – he continues -  sacrifice and the desire will be rewarded if we continue to put our hope in the Lord."

These days the total absence of rain has made it impossible for even the operation of hydroelectric plants, the main source of energy in the country. Today, President Arroyo declared a state of calamity in the region of Mindanao. There over 53% of its energy depends on the dams and Lanao Pulangi and January the water levels have dropped to two centimetres a day. Even in the capital, electricity and water have been rationed for weeks and since the beginning of Lent prayers have been said in Churches for the return of rain.

Lourdes Pamintuan, a Catholic in Manila, says: "We are confident that God will not abandon us. He will send us  rain and save us from imminent danger. We will continue to pray for rain. Our hope rests in the goodness of God. "

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