Catholics in Philippines assist Typhoon Fengshen victims


The Catholic Church in the Philippines is working in the aftermath of Typhoon Fengshen to help evacuees and other victims of the storm that, according to Reuters, has killed 224 known victims and left hundreds missing.

That death toll does not include fatalities among the 626 passengers and 121 crew members of the ferry which capsized on June 21 about 65 miles southeast of Manila. UCA News reports that another five people have been confirmed dead in that disaster, but only 32 survivors have been reported as rescued from the disaster.

As part of the Catholic response to the disaster, St. Elizabeth Metropolitan Cathedral in the central Philippines city of Jaro is housing 206 evacuated families in a hall where wedding receptions are normally held, UCA News says. Some evacuees brought folding beds with them, while those with no beds are being given cartons to sleep upon.

Monsignor Meliton Oso, chairman of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center, said members of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals are distributing food to evacuees. “People just come to bring a cauldron of soup" or other food, he reported to UCA News. The monsignor added, "We need all the hands we can get."

The evacuees have also received medicines for diarrhea, fever and headache. Church workers are trying to ascertain how many evacuees’ houses have been totally destroyed so the Church can help them rebuild “immediately,” Monsignor Oso said.

The Archdiocese of Manila’s social service ministry is also distributing relief goods. Gina Santos, an administrative officer with Caritas Manila, said the social service ministry and the archdiocesan development agency has distributed rice and canned goods to 1,225 families in some parts of the capital and in neighboring Pasay City.