CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Chongqing floods force mass evacuations

HONG KONG (UCAN): Father Ding Yang a parish priest in Tongnan, Chongqing, southwestern China, rushed to help people in need after a major flood swamped houses and damaged villagers’ livelihoods on July 12.
 
The country’s most populous municipality sits at the confluence of the Yangtze River and Jialing River, while the Minjiang River, Qujiang River and Wujiang River also run through it.
 
When the Yangtze, Jialing and Minjiang rivers flooded, more than 50,000 people in Tongnan had to evacuate their homes, although no casualties were reported.
 
The flood spread to the road near Shuangjiang Holy Cross Church, which is more than a century old. Father Ding said that the area has suffered many floods over the years. 
 
The priest and some of his parishioners went to the affected areas and visited Catholic families to provide pastoral care and spiritual comfort after three days of flooding.
 
Father Ding explained that Tongnan is China’s base for growing vegetables. Crops including radishes, peppers and lemons are exported overseas.
 
“Since crops have been flooded and farmers, temporarily, cannot plant, they are expected to lose at least two-quarters of their income,” he said.
 
The local Church has already given affected Catholics US$500 ($3,924) each while authorities have subsidised and distributed seeds. 
 
With temperatures in Chongqing reaching about 40 degrees Celsius, authorities are worried about the outbreak of disease and are carrying out disinfection.
 
According to Chinese Church history, Tongnan was the first place where Catholicism was introduced in Chongqing.

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