10/10/2013, 00.00
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Wenzhou, churches open to shelter those fleeing typhoons

by Xu Gexin
In recent days the devastating typhoon Fitow made landfall on the coast of Fujian and Zhejiang. The provincial capital has opened places of worship to give a shelter to the rural migrants and people living in coastal areas , "Thanks to the Catholics : they treated us really well."

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) - The Catholics of the Diocese of Wenzhou, in eastern China, have distinguished themselves for their help to migrant workers and people living in coastal areas below sea level hit in recent days by several typhoons. On 6 October, two churches in the city of Wenzhou opened their doors to provide shelter to hundreds of people in distress : these were fleeing the typhoon Fitow , which hit Zhejiang and other coastal provinces of China.

The storm hit the city of Fuding, Fujian Province on October 7, bringing heavy rains and collapse of the power system. According to the State Flood Control Office, over 4 million people in Zhejiang and Fujian have been affected by bad weather. At the request of the local government, therefore, the Catholic churches welcomed immigrants and residents in evacuation zones .

The parishioners immediately prepared to receive those in difficulty. Crowds of migrant workers, mostly from the countryside and now in cities, moved into two churches. At midnight on October 6, one church had over 400 guests , while the other 100: conference rooms , study - rooms , the hall and passages were crammed. Migrants were offered food, drinks and blankets.

The parishioners have taken advantage of the situation to project video on the life of Jesus and the activities of the Church, and to share the gospel with the refugees. The next morning , after the storm , the guests began to leave the church . Leaving, some said : " What a beautiful place, very peaceful ! It was a great experience." A family of migrants told a parishioner : "When we are forced to take refuge in other places, no one takes care of us , you Catholics are different . We have been treated really well ."

During the typhoon season , the churches in the affected areas are often involved in the operations of first aid for the victims and those affected by bad weather. According to some Catholics , "so that people can learn more about the charitable activities of the Church and better understand the community of the faithful ."



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