UPDATED – MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — A Catholic bishop in the northernmost island of the Philippines has appealed for prayers and help for victims of twin earthquakes that rocked Batanes province July 27.
Bishop Danilo Ulep of the Batanes prelature said he sent a team to Itbayat, the hardest-hit town, to assess the situation, uacnews.com reported.
“Right now, all we are accepting is financial assistance because other needs like food, water, medicines, etc. are being addressed by the government,” Bishop Ulep said.
Caritas Philippines, the church’s aid and development agency, launched a “solidarity appeal” for the province.
Authorities declared a “state of calamity” in the town of Itbayat, where centuries-old churches, schools, houses and other buildings were demolished by two major earthquakes. At least eight died, 63 were injured and one person was reported missing.
The government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council recorded 180 aftershocks by July 28.
“The entire island was shaken so I’m under the impression that everybody is affected,” Mark Timbal, council spokesman, said.
He said residents have been advised not to enter buildings due to the risk of collapse, adding that temporary shelters have been established for residents.
Citing initial reports from the affect area, Timbal said 15 houses, two schools, two health facilities, and a church were severely damaged by the temblors and that other substantial damage was reported.
Authorities said about 3,000 people were affected.
The council said transporting relief goods to Itbayat has been the “main challenge.” Located on the northern tip of the Philippines, it can only be reached by boat. The town’s airport can only handle small aircraft. Helicopters have to be used to airlift supplies.
Ricardo Jalad of the government’s disaster response office said there are enough food supplies, “but the challenge is transportation.”
Church leaders, meanwhile, warned against scammers out to take advantage of people who need help.
Father Ronaldo Manabat, vice chancellor of the prelature, cautioned the public against a Facebook account using the name of Bishop Ulep.
He said someone behind the “fake account” is raising money to supposedly help earthquake victims in Itbayat. The prelature also urged the public to watch out for false charities, especially using the name of the local church.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: