Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Amid typhoons, earthquakes ... the Lord still smiles

Have you heard anything about these disasters in Asia? Japan suffered from a 6.5 earthquake today and a Tsunami alert was issued. Also, the Typhoon Morakat has really wreaked havoc on the East. Terrible mudslides have been occuring with more than 600 missing in Taiwan. The following is a report on the weather and natural disasters in Asia this week. The news comes from our Salesian province of Australia:

One would need to live on another planet -- and these days even that would hardly count -- to not know that parts of Asia have been badly pummeled by typhoon Morakot -- Taiwan and the mainland China coast have been seriously affected. Morakot has also brought heavy rains to South Korea and Japan, all suffering from serious mudslides and loss of life. And now Japan has been hit by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

Reports from our own Salesians are coming in slowly, as could be expected amid the general difficulties they are experiencing, including with communications.

A correspondent from Taiwan tells us that in Taipei’s St. John Bosco Parish, the kindergarten and living quarters of the Salesian community are OK. Tainan’s school compound, 200 miles to the south, is at least fortunate in that it is on higher ground -- that helps where flooding is concerned, but less so for wind! With some buildings more than 40 years old, there are problems from leakage, grounds literally awash and/or covered with leaves, but the structure still stands. But it’s a case of “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink”! The area has been three days without fresh drinking water. The school has large tanks, but they are already dry, so the school has to do what it can -- buy water, borrow some from the firemen’s tanks, collect it from the roofs.

Boys Town at Chaocou is 45 miles southeast of Tainan. They have had a tough time. Last month 49-year-old Fr. Francis Wang Chun-run, in charge of the boys, passed away. His replacement has not yet arrived. The treasurer of the house is blocked by weather conditions in Hong Kong. Fortunately the boys are home for a break! The director in Tainan has sent a “relief” priest down from the city, and he found that the normal one hour for that distance became four, due to floods. He also found the compound at Chaocou flooded and the older buildings leaking. But, as our correspondent notes, God is good and, all considered, our people and our work are bearing up well.

We hope to have additional reports from other weather- or earthquake-affected areas, in due course.

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