Still devastated from world's strongest storm of the year, the islands were hit again.
Pope Francis assured his prayers for the people of the Philippines, who have been hit by another typhoon, less than two weeks after the year’s strongest typhoon left devastation.
After praying the midday Angelus, the Holy Father said:
I am close in prayer to the population of the Philippines, who are suffering because of the destruction and above all the flooding caused by a strong typhoon. I express my solidarity to the poorest families who have been subjected to these calamities, and my support to those who are trying to aid them.
“Every life matters”
Caritas is appealing for international support: “The nation is in quandary,” said Father Antonio Labiao, executive director of Caritas Philippines, after the second storm.
Typhoon Vamco, called Ulysses locally, made landfall in the Philippines on November 11, causing massive flooding in various parts of Luzon, including metro Manila and Cagayan. The death toll from this 21st storm to hit the Philippines this year is still rising.
The storm battered areas still reeling from the Super Typhoon Goni, the world’s strongest typhoon so far this year that claimed 25 lives and destroyed thousands of homes. Goni made landfall on October 31.
The destruction of the typhoons is of course on top of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
“We urge our government to seek help from the international community now,” Fagther Labiao said. “It is clear that we cannot do this alone. It is imperative that we leave no one behind. Let us all help each other. Let us save everyone. Every second counts. Every life matters.”
The Vincentian Foundation is reaching out to the victims of Typhoon Ulysses in Manila. Vincentian priest Father Dani Pilario appealed for urgent help for illegal settlers living in shanties under bridges because they could be trapped by flooding caused by heavy rain that saw a river in the Marikina area of the metropolis rise by a meter in less than three hours.
The priest noted that the flooding is made worse with dams releasing water or overflowing. Unaware of this danger, many people, he said, could easily be trapped or washed away altogether.
When the Vincentian Foundation team reached the affected people with relief material, the priest said they looked very relaxed. “We already know what to do, Father. We have been here for a long time,” they said.
However, Father Pilario said that although this might be the case, they too had their limits: “When a government does not have a housing program — which forces families including children to live in such circumstances, then this society is abusing people’s resilience.”
The Vincentian priest criticized the government saying it is more worried about its own survival and hold on power than sheltering and caring for people during natural disasters.
The Jesuits of the Philippines have also appealed for help for the affected people.
President Rodrigo Duterte said on November 12 that he had ordered government agencies to mobilize and provide aid to victims. “Rest assured, the government will not leave anybody behind,” Duterte said on national television.
Saints who dealt with extreme weather