Santiago de Chile (Fides Service) - Responding to Pope John Paul II’s call for solidarity for the peoples of Asia, and in a spirit of brotherhood, the Church in Chile has arranged for a nation wide special collection at Sunday masses on 9 January and through the month of January in aid of the victims in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Somalia after the seaquake which struck a vast area with unprecedented violence on 26 December.
The local Church has already received donations from companies, businesses and individuals sent to Caritas Chile Bank of Chile account (000-00117-01). The sum collected will be forwarded to Caritas Internationalis in Rome
The effort on the part of Caritas Chile joins a solidarity chain started by Caritas India and Caritas Sri Lanka to meet immediate urgent needs. Besides mobilising personnel to estimate the effects of the tragedy and damage to church structures of assistance, in collaboration with local Caritas offices in the affected area the Caritas network is monitoring and assessing the situation and needs of the victims.
Because of the risk of other waves Caritas India and Caritas Sri Lanka are working to evacuate survivors in the affected areas. They are providing emergency medical care and psychological counselling for people who have lost their dear ones, possessions and livelihood. Caritas India says that at least 10,000 homeless people are receiving shelter and assistance in parishes in the diocese of Guntur. More the 9,000 are in church shelters in the diocese Nellore, where at least twenty villages have just disappeared and 8,000 are being assisted by the diocese of Vijayawad, where 17 villages were swept away. (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 29/12/2004 - righe 22, parole 313)