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Caritas Philippines seeks help for earthquake victims

Church's social action arm still assessing aid needs of those affected by tremor

Caritas Philippines seeks help for earthquake victims

The runway at Surigao City airport suffered cracks following the Feb. 10 earthquake, forcing planes carrying relief goods to land in nearby provinces. (Photo by Roel Catoto)

February 16, 2017

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Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the country's Catholic bishops, has sought the help of partner organizations to help victims of a 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck Surigao City on Feb. 10.

Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the social action office, revealed that he already asked help from Caritas Netherlands, which might raise at least US$20,000.

"We already had initial negotiations with them, but its not that big," said the priest.

The Catholic Church's social action workers are already conducting an assessment of the damage in the area to know the needs of the victims.

Father Gariguez, however, said it would be "unlikely" that the organization will rebuild houses for the earthquake victims, like what it did in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

"There is a scale and magnitude that we use before we can launch a similar big operation and this will not qualify because those affected are not that many," said the priest.

Manila Archdiocese also appealed to the public for donations, both in cash and in kind, for relief and rehabilitation operations in the disaster-affected areas.

A "state of calamity" has already been declared in Surigao City after the local government said the earthquake had affected 20 percent of its population. The city had a population of 154,000 as of 2015.

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