Operation Mobilisation-supported children lose homes in Philippines fire

Children supported by Operation Mobilisation in the Philippines are among the victims of a devastating fire that swept through an old cemetery in Cebu City last week Tuesday.

Around 7,000 people have been left homeless as a result of the fire at the Lorega cemetery, in which 500 houses were destroyed.

The church of a local pastor that OM Philippines-Cebu partners with was also damaged in the fire, as were the Lorega gym and community hall.

Many of the children supported by OM Philippines-Cebu's feeding programme lived in the cemetery with their families.

The programme distributes food every Tuesday night and despite the extent of the damage has been able to continue operating.

"We saw that almost every house inside the cemetery was turned to ashes, others are still on smoke," said Mae Gabrillo from OM Philippines-Cebu, who visited the cemetery a few hours later.

"There was no need to ask if our kids' houses were burnt – the remnant of the fire showed it: charcoal, ashes and thick smog. The fire has devoured almost the entire cemetery, leaving our kids homeless."

Following the fire, the feeding programme handed out an additional three packs of food and bottled water to each family.

OM has also provided hot meals and mats, blankets and tents for 300 families. It was planning to spend additional funds on cooking utensils for each family.