Local government and Church officials in the Philippines have been working together to mitigate damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda, according to the country’s bishops’ conference.
The ‘Super Typhoon’, one of the strongest in living memory, made landfall late Thursday evening local time with sustained winds of 195mph.
As the government made preparations for the storm, bishops were coordinating with appropriate government agencies to provide assistance through diocesan Social Action Centers.
“To avoid duplication, since the government has an existing program for situations like this, we will coordinate with local government units,” Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi told CBCP News.
He said he had called on the Catholic faithful to recite the Oratio Imperata, or obligatory prayer, for good weather, which they had found effective when Typhoon Reming severely damaged the region in 2006.
Archbishop John Du of Palo said aside from sincerely praying for God’s protection, he reminded the people to cut branches of large trees and reinforce their wooded homes and nipa huts.
“I also reminded them to secure candles, flashlights, water and non-perishable food products,” he said. The Archdiocesan Social Action Center has also purchased food commodities for distribution and organized first-aid responders.
Other bishops have been leading their dioceses in similar ways and emphasised the need for everyone to pray.
The provincial government of Eastern Samar also alerted concerned agencies for possible evacuations and ensure enough food, water and medicine supplies. The region is usually the gateway for Philippine typhoons from the South Pacific.
Bishop Arturo Bastes SVD of the diocese of Sorsogon just north of Eastern Samar ordered his parish priests and heads of religious congregations and institutions to reinforce their buildings. “We have also declared ‘safe areas’ to serve as evacuation centers and already prepared food items for relief operations,” he told CBCP News.
Sorsogon’s mayor, Sally Lee, said they were evacuating people from high-risk areas to protect people from both landslides and flash floods.
Source: CBCP News