New Philippines campaign seeks to help typhoon victims

Manila, Philippines, Aug 30, 2013 / 04:27 pm (CNA).- The Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines have organized a campaign to assist the nearly one million people in Manila and various provinces on Luzon Island affected by recent storms.

Earlier this month, Manila and surrounding areas were devastated by severe flooding caused by a powerful typhoon, which intensified the effects of the area's monsoon rains.

Last week, it was reported by local authorities that roughly 60 percent of the capital was submerged, with more than 300,000 people affected by the flooding.

The campaign initiated by the Recollects, “One Heart,” began their efforts on the feast of their patron, St. Augustine.

The provincial of the Recollects in the Manila, Fray Lauro Larlar, exhorted the faithful to make “the sorrows and anxieties of the victims of the flooding our own.”

“Astonished by the growing material poverty of our people and embarrassed by the shameful corruption that exists in many areas of the government” he said, “we wonder about the repercussion of how we vote on the people who suffer.”

He then challenged the community on how they live out the evangelical councils, questioning them, “As religious and as a community, are we a living testimony of the rejection of corruption (poverty), of selfless service (obedience) and of charity (chastity)? Does our consecrated life make us into servants with the same attitude of Jesus, who was poor, chaste and obedient?”

He called on the Augustinian Recollects to pray in community “for and in the name of the victims,” and to “involve our institutions, religious, collaborators, students, young people, parish organizations and personnel in general in carrying out significant activities to bring aid the victims of the typhoon.”

Gilda Avedillo, program officer for Caritas Manila’s disaster risk reduction and management program, spoke with CNA earlier this month, saying that relief efforts have been ongoing since Aug. 19.

Aid workers have been packing and delivering resources to those in the affected areas, prioritizing the needs of food, clean water, clothing, blankets, sanitary items and basic medication.

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