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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CATASTROPHES Update

Bishop Quinn Weitzel of Pago-Pago, American Samoa reports: The latest death toll is 25 (MSNBC puts the number at 100+) with extensive damage. Schools are closed until at least next week. Homeless people are now being housed at the Diocesan Center and John Paul II Youth Center.

Please keep him, the Samoans and all the Pacific Islanders in your prayers as they continue to suffer more natural disasters.

President Obama has declared American Samoa a disaster area.

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More underreported is the catastrophe which struck the Philippines over the weekend. A message from Fr. Jerry Burr to Super G Ed Dougherty and posted on the bulletin board states in part:

Last Saturday (Sept 25) 17 inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period. Streets, canals and creeks turned into raging rivers and carried many victims away. Some people drowned in their own homes. The death toll is 250+. Almost 2 million people have been driven from their homes. Eighty percent of Manilla, a metropolis of 12 million people, is flooded. The damage is staggering and rescue efforts, so far, pitiful. Thousands are without homes, food and water.

Two Maryknollers in Manilla, Fr. Jim Ferry and Fr. Jim Kroeger, are on relatively high ground. A Maryknoll employee, Renato, did not fare so well. He left work early on Saturday, being concerned about his family. He could not get near his house due to the torrents of water. His wife and small children spent the night on the roof of the house in the pouring rain as water was well above the second floor. They lost everything but are just grateful to be alive.

Former Maryknoller Dave Viehland and his wife "N.J.", employees of UCAN, lost all their possessions and their house. They and their son and grandchildren are staying at the Maryknoll House and looking to resettle somewhere.

Please keep the people of the Philippines and Maryknollers there in your prayers.

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