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2013-09-19

AMERICA/MEXICO - Mobilization of all religious realities in aid of the homeless

Guerrero (Agenzia Fides) - There are about 400 temporary shelters for the homeless following floods and landslides due to heavy rains that hit Mexico, that have been set up in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Chiapas, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Colima, Durango and Michoacan.
The initiative was taken by the Catholic Church along with other religious entities: Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Assemblies of God, Seventh-day Adventists, Centers of faith, hope and love, Salvation Army.
In these places of reception one not only has the possibility to stay, but also receive food and clothing, while some volunteers organizes activities for children of families affected. The Salvation Army has organized two volunteer units that deal with "mobile kitchens" in the area of Guerrero, which prepares up to 10,000 meals a day. Two other units operate in Veracruz and Tamaulipas for the most needy.
Maybe it is the first time that religious groups have set up relief efforts with such speed and efficiency to help families who have lost everything. While the Catholic Church, with the Red Cross and Caritas, coordinates the shelters and assistance, the Methodists have prepared 14 lodging places.
The National Presbyterian Church has set up 120 centers in several states, such as soup kitchens for the affected families, which offers not only a hot meal but also a charger for mobile phones, so that one is able to communicate with other relatives. There are also 38 local radio stations, belonging to evangelical churches, which communicate via radio "new reception centers" that the population does not know of. At the same time they receive phone calls from small towns still isolated by the rains.
Caritas Mexico, in a statement sent to Fides Agency, informs that it has established an emergency plan: each parish has already opened a collection center for aid which are then distributed in the affected areas.
On Monday, September 16 the coordinación Nacional de Proteccion Civil declared a state of emergency in 49 municipalities of the state of Guerrero (the most affected) due to rains caused by the hurricane "Ingrid" and the Tropical Storm "Manuel" that devastated a large part of the Mexican territory. The local press reports 55 deaths and more than 8,000 displaced people, but there are still no official reports about it. There is talk of a million homeless, an unprecedented situation in the recent history of the country. Only in the state of Veracruz, in eastern Mexico, the toll is dramatic: a landslide killed 12 people. The rains have caused damage in 20 of the 32 states of Mexico. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 19/09/2013)

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