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Caritas Philippines appeals for aid for earthquake victims

MANILA (UCAN): Caritas Philipines launched a solidarity appeal to help the earthquake-hit northern province of Batanes.
Authorities declared a state of calamity in the town of Itbayat following two powerful earthquakes on July 27 that left nine people dead and 63 injured.
Among the structures devastated by the earthquake were centuries-old churches, schools, houses and other buildings.
Archbishop Rolando Tirona of Caceres, chairperson of the social action secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the Prelature of Batanes has limited resources to rebuild them.
Caritas Philippines has already released an initial US$4,000 ($31,200) to help the local Church.
Bishop Danilo Ulep of Batanes, said the prelature is assisting what the government is doing in terms of rebuilding houses. 
“For our part we want to immediately rebuild the church, especially because it’s the symbol of unity of our people,” the bishop said.
He expressed his gratitude to “kind-hearted people willing to help.”
Bishop Ulep said the prelature is focusing on long-term assistance for the people as the government is assessing the immediate needs of the community.
However, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said transporting relief goods to the island town of Itbayat has been the main challenge.
Itbayat, on the northern tip of the Philippines, can only be reached by boat. The town’s airport can only handle small aircraft. Helicopters have to be used to airlift supplies.
Ricardo Jalad of the disaster response office said there are enough food supplies “but the challenge is transportation.”
The twin earthquakes displaced at least 2,963 people, according to the council.

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