People walk past piles of debris and rubbish on a street in the aftermath of Typhoon Hato in Macau on Aug. 26. The huge typhoon ripped through the gambling hub, killing at least 18 people on Aug. 23. (Photo by Dale La Rey/AFP)
Parishes in Macau Diocese held special Masses Aug. 28 for those killed and affected by a super typhoon that struck the city last week. Typhoon Hato, the strongest typhoon in 53 years, hit Macau Aug. 23 causing serious flooding and the death of at least 10 people, many of them trapped in basements. More than a hundred people suffered injuries. Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang of Macau extended his sympathies on Aug. 24 to victims as well as families of the dead, on behalf of the diocese. He encouraged every parish to hold special Masses and to support communities affected by the disaster. "May I call upon all the citizens of Macau, especially believers of Christ, along with people of all faiths and goodwill, to unite in prayer for the deceased and wounded, for their families, and for the numberless firefighters, police officers, medical staff, and workers repairing water and electric facilities and those cleaning our streets," Bishop Lee said in a statement. "Together let us collaborate actively and constructively with government agencies and with various voluntary and charity organizations for the restoration and normal operations of the city as soon as possible," he said.
Among the buildings damaged by the typhoon was St. Francis Church in Coloane which was flooded. The plaza in front of the church was likewise smashed by fallen trees. A piece of stained glass from the Our Lady of Nativity Cathedral and a window frame in the diocesan curia building next to it were also damaged. The new campus of the Catholic University of St. Joseph was also badly damaged and the school will begin in "recovery mode" in September, Father Peter Stilwell, rector of university, said in a statement Aug. 25. "Over the next weeks and months, we will work together as an academic community, both staff and students, to solve the issues posed by our move to a new campus severely damaged by the recent storm," said Father Stilwell. Typhoon Hato destroyed a pane of stained glass at Our Lady of Nativity Cathedral on Aug. 23. (Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Nativity Cathedral)
In helping the city get back on its feet, various Catholic communities have provided drinking water to people at several locations since many districts have been unable to restore their water supply and electricity since the disaster struck. Many volunteers have cleaned up streets while the local government also asked the People's Liberation Army for help. As Macau struggled to get to its feet it was hit by Typhoon Pakhar on Aug. 27. This storm was weaker than the earlier one. The China Meteorological Administration has predicted a developing typhoon may hit the city on Sept. 3. The head of Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau resigned on Aug. 24 following public blaming the government for not giving sufficient warning before the super typhoon hit. "It is not the time now for lamenting, putting the blame on anyone, or complaining about the inconveniences; rather, this is a time for us to show our mutual support for each other and to pledge ourselves to do all we can during this process of recovery," said Bishop Lee.
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