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Parish churches serve as sanctuaries for evacuees

Evacuees at Bula, Camarines Sur and other towns affected by strong winds and flood appeal for drinking water, mats and housing materials

“Be ready to open our churches, chapels, schools and convents for evacuees and provide assistance and strength to them. It is good to work jointly with Caritas-Caceres, our Social Action Commission and also coordinate with the Local Government Units (LGU) for their assistance for the evacuees,” says Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, in a Pastoral Letter issued on October 29, 2020 in view of the coming super typhoon.

As in the past, evacuees usually find sanctuary in parish churches whenever there is a calamity. During typhoon Quinta and super typhoon Rolly, local government units bring evacuated families to the churches.

Evacuees were served goto by parish volunteers at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Ombao, Bula, Camarines Sur. Photo: FB page of St.Vicente Ferrer

As of November 10, 2020, based on the data reported to Caritas - Caceres, Inc , the parish church in Garchitorena received 20 families, Goa (10), Tinambac (20),Cagliliog (30), Guijalo (11),Sibaguan(54), Bikal (62), Tabgon (265), Sangay (564), Maangas (160), Omalo (32), Caramoan (2), Bato (1078), Anayan (10), Tambo(20), Buhi (84), Concepcion (10), Bombon (47), Calabanga (64), Nabua (190), Quipayo (50), Camaligan (275), Baao (10), Sta. Teresita Iriga (1,696), Santiago Iriga (101), Gingaroy (900), San Rafael, Tigaon (51). St. Andrew Academy in Sangay received evacuees from Nato, Sangay while families from the barangays of Patitinan, Sibagwan, Bungalon were brought to the parish church of Sangay by the local government.

The report from seven parishes says there are 2, 426 totally damaged houses within their jurisdiction. Nabua parish reported the highest number of damaged houses with 862 houses. Caritas-Caceres was provided data by 29 parish priests of the 92 parishes of the Archdiocese. Power failure and lack of network connection contributed to the delay of communicating the status report after the typhoon.

Parish use boat to bring food packs to residents stranded by flood (FB Photo San Vicente Ferrer)

For immediate response, Caritas-Caceres gave food packs to those most in need. They see to it that any parish that sought assistance would not go home empty handed.

Caritas - Manila, NASSA, Diocesis of Kalookan, Parañaque and many individual donors here and abroad have sent contributions to Caritas-Caceres especially for the relief packs. What the evacuees now need are housing assistance, drinking water, mats, toiletries especially in Bula, Camarines Sur which is still flooded as of this writing. Caritas-Caceres is now assessing the localities which will be given priority for the housing assistance.

In his message after the typhoon Quinta and Super typhoon Rolly, Archbishop Tirona expressed his unity with those who are suffering and in pain due to the damage caused by the storm. He also said that it is the Lord who gives strength, hope and will lift our spirits to rise up together. He challenges all to pray, and to those who have the resources, work hand-in-hand to help those in need.

/Myrna Bermudo with Tere Medina and Sr. Judy Zamar,fsp

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