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Philippine Church calls for support for flood victims

MANILA (UCAN): The Church in The Philippines is calling on all parishes to pool their resources to offer assistance to the victims of severe flooding caused by torrential monsoon rains in the southern part of the country in mid-January.

Eleven people, including eight children, have been reported to have died in the surging waters, while thousands of families were forced to flee their homes as heavy rains hit several parts of the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, from Cotabato, appealed for clothing, blankets, medicine and temporary shelter for the victims of the disaster.

Speaking to delegates at the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Manila, Cardinal Quevedo blamed the degradation of the environment for the floods that hit the country.

The bishop from Mindanao pointed out that a lack of the communion in love has caused people to fail in caring for the environment.

He urged the delegates to the congress to be aware of the little things that they can do to fight global warming and climate change, saying that with love, the whole damaged body can be put back together again.

He added the bishops have been vocal in pointing to irresponsible mining and illegal logging in the country, as well as in his own diocese of Cagayan de Oro, which was the most affected area by the floods.

He reported that Father Nick Lalog said residents had sought temporary shelter in Church compounds as flooded streets were strewn with stranded vehicles caught in rising waters.

Presidential spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, said a state of calamity has already been declared in Cagayan de Oro, the worst hit city in Mindanao, and nearby provinces.

“The response is manageable at the local government and agency levels and does not require the government to step in,” Abella said.

The military announced that it has helped transport families to 53 evacuation centres in the province of Misamis Oriental alone.

In the Visayas region, at least 61 villages in Capiz, Bohol and Leyte were submerged in floodwaters.

The Philippines, which sits astride the typhoon belt in southeastern Asia, is prone to flooding, landslides and tsunamis.

Manmade environmental degradation aggravated by a rising population, loss of agricultural lands, deforestation, soil erosion and improper disposal of solid waste are blamed for disasters.

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