At least one loss per family in Philippines landslide

The bishop of the diocese stricken by the landslide has said that the population is devastated, with the loss of 1000 hectares of land and countless human lives.

AsiaNews reports that Bishop Precioso Cantillas of Maasin Diocese on the island of Leyte is appealing for help.

"I am on the site of the disaster and I visited the area," he said. "It is all covered with mud, roads are not usable and homes cannot be used either. The population is devastated, because it witnessed an earthquake and a tornado within five minutes, which led to the crumbling of part of the mountain: the landslide has left orphans and widows, apart from annihilating around 1000 hectares of land from the map of the Philippines. Each family is mourning at least one loss."

Meanwhile Caritas Australia yesterday issued a further statement that reported that 410 people had been rescued by late Sunday night. Survivors in a critical condition have been airlifted to hospitals in the area, according to Caritas Australia staff in the Philippines, who are in close communication with their partners from Guinsaugon.

By Sunday night, rescuers had determined the location of the school that was buried along with school children from the village. The roof was identified using magnetic equipment but it is under approximately 50 metres of mud. Equipment available was only able to dig up to 15 metres so rescuers are now waiting for Taiwanese teams due to arrive, who have more advanced equipment.

Rescue is still on going with assistance from different groups such as the US army working with the Philippines army, Pakistani and now Taiwanese rescue teams.

The local community has received strong support both from international and local groups.

Currently there are 576 families in three evacuation centres - two parish buildings and one school building. Parish volunteers are developing profiles of families affected so that they can provide appropriate counseling.

Eight villages will be evacuated, due to fears of another landslide.

Caritas Philippines has launched a national appeal and is receiving a reasonable response from within the country but more assistance is needed.

Caritas Philippines is also unloading relief goods that it has accessed from the Philippines government. However, currently more food, sleeping equipment, milk for children and the elderly is still needed.

To make a donation to the Philippines Landslide relief effort please ring 1800 024 413 or make a donation online.

"Each family mourns at least one loss" after landslide (AsiaNews.it 20/2/06)
Caritas Australia continues to respond to the Philippines disaster (Caritas Australia 20/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia - Philippines Landslide Appeal | Online Donations

Caritas responds to the Philippines mudslide tragedy (CathNews 20/2/06)

Sadness and shock in the Philippines (catholicireland.net 20/2/06)
Catholic agencies mobilize to help Philippines mudslide victims (Catholic World News 20/2/06)
Caritas rushes aid to Philippine disaster (Independent Catholic News 20/2/06)
Philippines: priest mourns parishioners lost in landslide (Independent Catholic News/Missionary Service News Agency 20/2/06)
Benedict XVI Appeals for Prayers for Mudslide Victims (Zenit 19/2/06)

21 Feb 2006