Makati. In the morning of September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy (international known as "Ketsana") brought a deluge of heavy downpour in the Philippines' capital Manila and its nearby cities and areas. The downpour caused severe flooding which resulted in the loss of many lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Pauline communities most affected were the PDDM Provincial House in Quezon City and the FSP community and bookcentre in Marikina.
The country was declared under a state of calamity as it experienced a month's worth of rainfall in just under nine hours, with tolls of at least 245 confirmed deaths, at least 450,000 displaced and 380,000 forced to live in makeshift shelters and evacuation centers.
Though the Philippines is used to tropical storms, never before has the country experienced this magnitude of a disaster brought by typhoons. The government has appealed to nearby countries, foreign heads of goverments and states for aid while local organizations and volunteer groups have organized massive rescue efforts to those who were still stranded on their roofs even days after, and relief operations to those survivors staying in refuge and evacuation centers.
Aid and sympathies have outpoured from all over the world as Filipinos living abroad organized and extended their own relief operations and centers for cash and goods donations. Some Paulines on their part received donations of cash and kind from generous benefactors and neighbors while some helped in sorting out the goods for distribution which were chaneled through the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. Other Paulines also volunteered at local relief operations and paid a visit to the FSP Community in Marikina and the PDDM Provincial House to share their help and support.
We take to heart the Holy Father's message on October 2 where, "he expressed his confidence that the country will draw on all its resources, spiritual and material, so that its citizens "may flourish in body and soul, knowing the goodness of God and living in solidarity with their neighbors".