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Church's urgent appeal for typhoon victims

Relief efforts stepped up as Bhopa death toll nears 500

Church's urgent appeal for typhoon victims
People walk by a damaged Catholic chapel in Compostela Valley (photo by Keith Bacongco) reporter, Manila

December 7, 2012

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Church leaders and the International Red Cross today appealed for more help for victims of Typhoon Bopha which devastated several provinces in the southern Philippines earlier this week.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said today that almost 500 people have been killed and 400 others are still missing.

Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said Manila archdiocese will double donation collection for relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Pascual said the archdiocese’s social action arm has already sent financial aid to dioceses in Mindanao worst hit by the typhoon.

He said at least $7,000 has been sent to the Tagum and Tandag dioceses, while about $5,000 was sent to Butuan.

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon and Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao said they have already asked their priests to hold collections for typhoon victims during Mass starting from Sunday.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also made an urgent appeal for funds to support relief and recovery efforts for thousands of families affected by the typhoon.

The organization said a 4.5 million Swiss-franc ($4.8 million) appeal will provide 50,000 people directly affected by the storm with immediate food and non-food relief.

Details on the extent of damage are only starting to emerge and the number of fatalities, injured, displaced and others affected are expected to rise in coming days as rescue teams make their way to remote villages.

“Rain from the mountains caused rivers to run high and fast. This is when we face a real threat of fatalities from flash floods and landslides,” said Selva Sinnadurai, the Red Cross country representative in the Philippines.

Aid from other countries has started pouring in.

Australia has announced that it is sending A$5 million ($5.3 million) for "life-saving" and early recovery assistance for victims of the disaster.

The United States is providing $100,000 to Catholic Relief Services to support disaster relief efforts in Mindanao, while Canada has pledged C$250,000 ($252,000).

Damage caused by the typhoon is estimated at P4-billion ($98 million), authorities said.

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