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After mudslide buries hundreds, medical ministry helps survivors

As many as 1,000 people are feared dead after a Feb. 17 mudslide on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. Filipino Christians have surveyed the damage and MARCH for Christ, a church-sponsored medical ministry, is sending workers and relief.

Agroup of 10 church members, led by Samson Octubre, visited the site of the Feb.17 landslide Saturday to assess needs. News agencies estimate that up to 1,000people may have died in the landslide, which followed heavy rains in theregion.
U.S.Marines and rescue workers from several countries are recovering bodies,concentrating on an elementary school where 200 children and 40 teachers werefeared trapped, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.

MyrenCelmar, a college student in the city of Cebu,came home to Guinsaugon and learned that her mother and four sisters weremissing, presumed dead, Cariaga said. A number of high school students alsosurvived the landslide and are living in a refugee center.
“Theirstudies were interrupted,” Cariaga said. “Their lives are shattered.”
Nochurch members were directly affected by the landslide, Octubre told theChronicle, but church members in the Philippines planned to do what theycould to help the victims.
MARCHfor Christ, a church-supported medical mission in the Philippines, is organizing a team of doctors andmedical professionals to travel to Leyte. Thegroup is scheduled to leave Thursday, Octubre said, and will provide medicalservices and relief supplies.
ChitoCusi, who directs the medical ministry, also is gathering resources to helpvictims rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Church members in Manilaand Cebu also are planning future trips toprovide relief materials and counseling for victims.
“Thiswill be a long recovery process for the victims,” Cariaga said after returningfrom the scene of devastation. “I expect to be back there again soon.
Formore information, or to contribute to relief efforts, see www.philippinechurchesofchrist.org.

March 1, 2006

Filed under: International

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