People on a motorcycle cover their faces as they traverse a road covered with ash spewed by Taal volcano in, Agoncillo town, in Batangas province on Jan. 15. (Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP)
Parishes in the Philippines, affected by the ongoing eruption of Taal volcano, have appealed for volunteers to assist in the repacking of goods for distribution to displaced families.
Lipa Archdiocese’s social action office also called for people who will have to undergo a short course on psychological first-aid to help those affected by the eruption.The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a total of 10,455 families or 44,065 individuals have been affected in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.Of that number, 9,508 families or 40,126 people are currently staying in 189 evacuation centers.Authorities said the number was expected to increase as more residents inside the "danger zone" continue to seek safety.The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that about 459,000 people live within the 14-kilometer radius "danger zone."
Meanwhile, two students from the De La Salle Catholic school in the city of Lipa died after a tragic car accident on Jan. 14 while on their way home from distributing relief goods at an evacuation center.Brother Dante Amisola, the school president, said the students made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up their lives in the service of others.De La Salle has committed to adopting an evacuation center and to help feed 400 evacuees at a nearby public school with three hot meals daily until the crisis ends.Help for affected families and communities continued to pour in from various groups, including the Church.Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle earlier requested all parishes and churches in Manila to make two collections on Saturday and Sunday to help those displaced by the eruption.His request followed an appeal from the bishops’ conference for Catholics to donate food and clothing, and to offer shelter to evacuees.A peace group in the southern Philippines has announced that it is donating 3,000 face masks to people affected by the volcanic eruption.Charlito Manlupig, founder and president of the Balay Mindanaw Foundation, expressed hope that their "modest contribution could somehow help ease the difficulties" of those affected by disaster.Alert Level 4 is still in force around Taal volcano as a more dangerous eruption is still possible, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
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