Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) will provide emergency aid to the Philippines as the region grapples with a natural disaster of epic proportions.
Responding to a desperate appeal for help, the charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians is dispatching funds to provide food, clean water, blankets, clothes and hospital beds amid reports of millions of people in urgent need. The aid package of $19,800 is being sent to the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii for distribution in the Philippines’ Dioceses of Cubao and Antipolo.
At least 250 people have been reported dead since Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit the Philippines on Saturday, September 26th, and more than two million are thought to be affected by the disaster.
In a message to ACN, Sister Mary Brasil, Superior General of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii, said, “We are in distress. We can only cry at the pain our people are experiencing here.” Sr. Mary went on: “Please come to our aid. This is an emergency.”
The Dominican superior reported that their relief work is overshadowed by the threat of a second typhoon – far worse than the first. Typhoon Pepeng was first spotted Thursday, October 1st, and has stronger winds than Ondoy, reaching up to 95mph near its center. Sr. Mary said, “As if the previous typhoon is not enough, we have another super typhoon coming. This gives the people so much fear. We can only pray.”
Supported by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, the work of the Sisters has concentrated on the people worst affected by the disaster. Sr. Mary said, “Since day one of the typhoon that flooded our streets and houses, we have served hot meals and soup to wet and hungry victims in Quezon City, particularly the street families who also lost their shanties.”
She went on, “We have had no sleep practically since the big flood last Saturday. We are helping first of all…the street families who are also displaced. We serve meals.”
As well as supporting flood victims in Quezon City – the country’s most populated city and former capital – the Sisters are helping those affected in the municipality of Tanay Rizal.
In her message to ACN, Sr. Mary wrote, “God bless you all for your compassion, Fr. Werenfried [ACN’s founder] surely has a heart for people ‘where God weeps.’ Thank you very much.”
She went on to describe how in one village, Tanay Proper, most houses were washed away by the flood, leaving 51 villagers injured. 20 people are still missing.
The Sister singled out for special mention villager Menardo David who lost his parents, wife, two sons and a grandchild when the typhoon struck. Sr. Mary told ACN, “It is bad enough to lose a home, property and things – how much more to lose a loved one or whole members of their family.”
Stunned by the scale of the devastation, the Sisters have prioritized those areas overlooked by the media and thus especially short of help. She said, “We have gathered, through the efforts of our members, food and clothing. It is not enough, however.”
The Sisters will be organizing a retreat to provide psychological and spiritual help to families whose loved ones drowned in the flood.
Aid to the Church in Need is also committed to providing long term help, including repairs to church buildings and other infrastructure devastated by the typhoon.