NAIROBI, KENYA - More than two million people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been affected by a cyclone that has killed more than 700 people, with hundreds still missing in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

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VATICAN CITY – After leading thousands of pilgrims in praying the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for flood victims in Texas and Louisiana following a devastating hurricane that caused massive flooding.

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HOUSTON – The 200-home community of McDade Estates down the road from Sacred Heart Parish had just hours to evacuate Aug. 27. City officials knocked door-to-door, alerting residents to escape to higher ground.

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. – Ken Ham sees a parallel between the time of Noah in the biblical book of Genesis and today’s growing secularization of American culture.

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MANCHESTER, England - A 78-year-old Catholic priest trapped in his home was among those rescued as floods ravaged the north of England.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis sent "heartfelt condolences" to the citizens of Ghana after at least 150 people were killed in a gas explosion in the country's capital, Accra.

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CHENNAI, India - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has appealed to Catholics to mobilize funds and materials to augment church relief work in northern Jammu and Kashmir state, devastated by floods.

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August 16, 2012

Flood calls forth aid

Half-a-million people stuck in evacuation centres while their Manila-area homes are underwater are getting a helping hand from Development and Peace.

The development arm of Canadian Catholics is sending $100,000 to help its Filipino partners – Caritas Philippines, Urban Poor Associates and the Centre for Environmental Concern – deal with Manila-area flooding. A month of unrelenting rain has displaced close to three million Filipinos. Caritas estimates 1.1 million flood refugees are staying with family or friends, but another 500,000 are in schools, government buildings and community centres.

Typhoon Saola began dumping heavy rain in the Philippines July 28. The typhoon was followed by seasonal monsoon rains. The government claims illegal settlements along creek beds have made the situation worse.

The flood crisis has sparked another round of debate about relocating slum dwellers in Manila. But for Caritas-Philippines and its National Secretariat for Social Action, the question is what to do right now.

As of Aug. 10 the Caritas emergency fund known as Alay Kapwa Fund stood at just 2.4 million pesos, or $56,000.

"Aside from launching local appeal to the dioceses, NASSA Caritas-Philippines is also tapping international partners to join us in conducting the emergency response," said a NASSA Caritas-Philippines report.

Toronto's sizable Filipino community is also coming together to help with a fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 17 at Our Lady of the Assumption, 2565 Bathurst St. 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The parish is using its patronal feast to collect non-perishable food, over-the-counter medicine and money. Contributions will go directly to Caritas Philippines.

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