14 Nov 2013

Crowds attend Auckland service for typhoon victims

8:54 pm on 14 November 2013

Thousands of people attended a special Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland dedicated to the victims of a massive typhoon in the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan - one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on land - hit the coastal Philippine provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday, killing thousands of people and causing widespread destruction.

About 3000 people were at the Mass on Wednesday and many Filipino priests were at the altar.

The Bishop of Auckland, Patrick Dunn, says the service was organised as a show of unity for Filipinos living in New Zealand, and was of the biggest gatherings he's seen at the church.

"The Filipinos are people of great faith so the church and their religious faith means a lot to them especially at a time like this, because there's not much else."

The church was also collecting money towards aid relief in the Philippines.

Father Ralph Barcelo said he was touched by the generosity shown and overwhelmed by the show of support.

"It's what we need at this point in time for us to gain enough strength to face the tragedy that happened to my people in the Philippines."

Fundraising efforts

Red Cross New Zealand said on Thursday it has raised $537,465 towards its Typhoon Haiyan Appeal so far.

The aid agency says cash is still the best way to help, and it does not accept donations of goods.

A donation can be made by calling 0800 RED CROSS, 0800 733 276.

Meanwhile, the Filipino community in Wellington will hold a fundraising concert on 23 November at Civic Square featuring choirs and entertainers.

All funds raised will be shared between the Red Cross, UNICEF and Caritas.