A Catholic bishop in the northernmost island of the Philippines has appealed for prayers and help for victims of twin earthquakes that rocked Batanes
province on July 27. Bishop Danilo Ulep of Batanes said he has sent a team to the hardest-hit town of Itbayat to assess the situation."Right now, all we are accepting is financial assistance
because other needs like food, water, medicines, etc. are being addressed by the government," said the prelate.The earthquakes, of magnitudes 5.4 and 6.4, killed at least eight people, injured 63, while one person was reported missing. The government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council recorded a total of 180 aftershocks by July 28.
"The entire island was shaken so I'm under the impression that everybody is affected," council spokesman, Mark Timbal, said.He said residents have been advised not to enter buildings due to the risk of collapse. "We've put up temporary shelters for people," he said.Citing initial reports from the ground, Timbal said 15 houses, two schools, two health facilities, and a church
were severely damaged by the earthquakes.He said the quake also caused substantial damage in the town. Authorities said about 3,000 people were affected. Church leaders, meanwhile, warned against scammers out to take advantage of people who want to help.Father Ronaldo Manabat, vice-chancellor of the prelature, cautioned the public against a Facebook account using the name of Bishop Ulep.He said someone behind the "fake account" is raising money to supposedly help earthquake victims in Itbayat.The prelature urged the public to watch out for fake charities, especially using the name of the local church.
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