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Catastrophe in the Philippines

· Tens of thousands are dead and hundreds of thousands displaced in the archipelago in Asia disrupted by Typhoon Haiyan ·

Pope Francis expresses his pain for the victims and calls for real solidarity for the affected people

It is becoming clear that the catastrophe of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has little precedent. According to estimates, 10,000 people were killed in the city of Tacloban alone,  which had a population of more than 200,000. However this estimate is incomplete because it does not take into account other regions and, according to sources from Caritas, the number is likely to drastically increase. Hundreds of thousands of people have also been displaced. It is estimated that at least four million people are facing the effects of the typhoon. Many are struggling to survive without shelter, food or drinking water. Various cases of profiteering have already been reported.

Pope Francis' sorrow for the many victims and his solidarity with the rescuers was expressed in a telegram to Benigno Aquino III, President of the Philippines.  “Deeply saddened by the destruction and loss of life caused by the super typhoon”, the telegram, signed by Secretary of State,  Pietro Parolin, “His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this storm and its aftermath.  He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and of those who have lost their homes.  In praying for all the people of the Philippines, the Holy Father likewise offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this storm.  He invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation for the Nation”.

The Holy Father also recalled the tragedy in the Philippines yesterday at the Marian prayer of the Angelus when he called for prayers and material aid for those affected and assured them of his closeness. An initial contribution of $150,000 was sent by the Pope through the Pontifical Council Cor Unum . The Episcopal Conference of Italy has allocated three million euro to  the emergency  and Caritas has sent another 100,000 euro.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 22, 2019

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