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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Challenges following devastating Typhoon in Cebu

By: Sr. M. Elisabeth Foley

The recent super typhoon Rai which hit Cebu on 16th December, severely damaged our Schoenstatt Sisters Centre and property along with the homes of many other Filipinos.  We are asking for your prayers and any possible assistance, as the challenge of clearing, repairing and re-building begins.

Because electricity and phone lines have been down – and in some cases are still not working – it has been extremely difficult for us to be in contact with our sisters. The sisters still do not have internet and our limited contact with them has only been through social media when the signal is strong enough to send a message.

The existing generator at our Centre supplied electricity for a few days enabling our sisters to continue to pump fresh water. Unfortunately, the generator broke down, was fixed once but then was irreparable. It took some days to procure a small temporary generator as a replacement.

There have been long lines (up to 8 hours waiting) for people to get petrol and water and only those shops with generators could open because cash registers and online banking etc. need electricity!!

The families of five of our Filipino Sisters have had their homes either totally or partially destroyed. Moving to evacuation centres was in question because of the danger of contracting Covid. Wherever possible our sisters have helped their families and others with food and water.  However, in some cases where homes have been completely destroyed it will be a long-term process before these people can again have their own homes. One of our sisters writing of her own family home wrote: “Our house has a little part of the roof left just enough for them (her mother and sister) to have shelter, to be protected from rain and from the heat of the sun, where they can also sleep.” Her sister wrote to her: “Please pray that it will not rain, or else everything will get wet.” (see photo)

Typhoon in Cebu

The Schoenstatt Centre itself has experienced considerable damage.  Fortunately, the Shrine has only its gutter damaged in one section. The grounds are in a total mess with trees uprooted and debris everywhere. The bridge connecting the Sisters’ house to the house where our working girls are accommodated has had its roof totally destroyed.

typhoon Rai

What can we do?

1.    PRAY – Please include in your prayers all those affected by this typhoon and all those trying to help them.

2.    GIVE –  Our Schoenstatt Movement in Australia is seeking to reach out in solidarity to help our sisters, their families and movement members in Cebu, as well as the Schoenstatt property itself. If you are in a position to give to this cause, please use the “Donate” button on our website, www.schoenstatt.org.au. Our efforts will be directed to our “Schoenstatt Family” in need in Cebu and the surrounding islands.

 

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