An interfaith group is assisting people affected by a series of deadly earthquakes that hit parts of the southern Philippines late October.
The group Duyog Marawi, which has been helping rehabilitate the war-torn city of Marawi, is helping towns in nearby Cotabato province reeling from three quakes with the last one hitting the region on Oct. 31.
“We’re raising funds for tents. Water is also badly needed now,” Brother Rey Barnido, who is the group’s executive director, told UCA News.
The Oct. 31 quake came after at least eight people died from a 6.6-magnitude tremor two days earlier. Another earthquake on Oct. 16, with a magnitude of 6.3, killed at least seven people, injured more than 200 and destroyed or damaged more than 7,000 buildings.
Brother Barnido said landslides have damaged water sources in some of the towns. He said tents are needed especially because areas struck by the earthquake have recently experienced heavy rain.
He said many residents will be needing aid right up to the Christmas holidays as many businesses and offices have suffered major damage or have been destroyed.
Authorities have warned residents against going back to their homes weakened by strong tremors that continue to occur.
A report from local officials of Makilala town said more than 20,000 households are badly affected by the recent earthquake with many needing to find safer accommodation.
The report said 19,000 households reported damaged homes while 1,700 reported “partially damaged” residences.
The town reported six dead from the last two quakes while eight others remain missing.
Joel Lim, a salesman, said his house — which initially withstood the quakes of Oct. 16 and Oct. 29 — finally collapsed following the quake on Oct. 31.
The Mindanao cities of Kidapawan and Davao were also badly hit with hotels and residential buildings destroyed.
Rescue personnel saved nine people from a collapsed residential building in Davao and were continuing rescue operations morning of Nov. 1.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called for help and prayers for areas affected by the disaster.
“Let us pray for the eternal repose of those who died. And let us pray that we continue to be caring and watchful for the safety of everyone,” read a statement from Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the conference.
“Please, again, let us show our spirit of charity and solidarity. As soon as we get more data and information, it is possible that we will issue another appeal for help,” he added.
In Kidapawan Diocese, some churches were reported damaged particularly in the parishes of Makilala and Magpet.
The diocese has also established an emergency quick response team and launched relief efforts for those affected by the earthquake.
The Philippine archipelago lies on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” the arc of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.