|Many Filipino people have lost everything in the floods, including some employees of Everest Academy in Manila.|
October 7, 2009. Manila, Philippines. When the rain started falling
in Manila on September 25, no one suspected what devastation
would follow the next day. The community of Legionaries and
the team of consecrated women who live in Manila and
work at Everest Academy were caught off guard, just
like everyone else.
A major disaster
Fr Daniel Polzer, LC, said,
“We live near a drainage creek and when it rains
hard the drains often back up and the street floods.
But then the water just kept going up. I was
home alone and started moving furniture to the bedrooms that
are two steps above the rest of the house. The
water started coming in through the glass door in the
chapel and then through the front door. And it just
“I shut the electricity off and consumed the Blessed
Sacrament and started putting things up as high as I
could. And the water just kept coming in. By the
time the water was knee deep in the bedrooms I
decided it was time to leave the house. I packed
a few things in a bag and waded across the
street to the neighbors who have a second floor.”
|Cars float down the flooded streets.|
women living in Manila experienced a similar situation. Christa Huddart,
a consecrated woman who works at Everest Academy, said that
after they moved the furniture up to the second floor,
they spent the whole following week cleaning up from mess
left by waist-high floods.
What started out as just another
autumn tropical storm had turned into a record rainfall that
killed at least 293 people in the country, leaving houses
flooded up to the rooftops, cars floating down the streets,
and a wide trail of devastation in its wake.
began to realize that there was a major disaster. We
were listening to a transistor radio and receiving text messages
from around the city. The stories of people being rescued
off of rooftops and being pulled out of raging flood
waters started trickling in. There was nothing we could do
but pray and make the best of it,” said Fr
|“It is like a third world Venice. They say the flood water around Laguna de Bay will not recede for at least three months.”|
In some cases, entire houses were washed away with the
waters. Thousands of people are still staying in overcrowded evacuation
An outpouring of generosity
Once the waters subsided enough for people
to get organized, Everest Academy organized a collection of
relief goods and began distributing them to flood victims, some
of whom were school employees.
“Three days after the flood I
took some relief goods to one of our employees in
Cainta Rizal, one of the worst affected areas,” said Fr
Daniel. “The flood waters had not receded. The water was
still waist-deep in the street outside his house. The people
had made rafts and various floating contraptions to be able
to get to dry land.”
“It is like a third world
Venice. They say the flood water around Laguna de Bay
will not recede for at least three months.”
Fr Daniel also
noted that there has been “an outpouring of generosity” for
|Everest Academy organized a collection of relief goods and began distributing them to flood victims, some of whom were school employees.|
the flood victims, but that it is going to be
“a long haul.” Not all areas of the city were
equally affected; in some places, the water has subsided and
people can begin cleaning up and returning to normal life
with some losses and damages. Others are not so lucky.
Those who live in still-flooded areas will have to contend
with the bacteria and diseases that flourish in the murky,
stagnant waters. At the same time, they will have to
fight for their livelihoods.
Although the Filipino are a resilient
people with deep faith, accustomed to frequent weather-related disasters, it
will be a difficult battle.
How you can send help
The Mission Youth apostolate in Manila will be organizing weekend missions
to help the flood victims for the next few months.
But the efforts to help the people in Manila do
require outside aid.
Catholic World Mission has organized a fundraising
drive to provide emergency help to the victims of the
flooding. Although CWM’s main focus is to help the poor
in the Philippines to obtain long-term sustainability through educational, medical,
and development programs, they are also equipped to send swift
aid overseas in response to sudden natural disasters.
If you would
like to contribute to the relief effort, click on the
donation you would like to make:
CWM is also
offering a video link for those who wish to
see a news update on the flooding in the Philippines.
Those who prefer to make their donation by check can
send it to 33 Rossotto Drive, Hamden, CT 06514 or
call Amber at CWM: 800-961-8153.
For more information about Catholic World
Mission and its projects at the service of development and
long-term sustainability, visit the web site at www.catholicworldmission.org.