Pope Francis expressed his closeness today to the people of the Philippines, recovering from this week’s “super typhoon” Rai hat left dozens dead, vast destruction, and more than 200 towns without electricity. More than 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes and beachfront resorts.
“I express my closeness to the people of the Philippines affected by a strong typhoon, which has destroyed many homes. May the Santo Niño bring consolation and hope to the families most in need; and may he inspire practical help in all of us! The first genuine help is prayer,” the Holy Father said.
Speaking after the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope turned his thoughts to Filipinos struck by Typhoon Rai, the strongest typhoon to batter the country this year. The death toll from the flooding, landslides, and collapsing trees caused by the typhoon, currently stands at 146, but scores of people are still missing.
Asking for prayers, the Pope said “May the Santo Niño bring consolation and hope to the families in difficulty, and inspire in us the need to offer concrete help.”
In the Philippines, rescue operations are underway and the government’s disaster-response agency is trying to secure food packs and drinking water for citizens following the destruction wrought by the typhoon in central island provinces on Thursday and Friday. At its strongest, Typhoon Rai packed sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 270 kph, making it one of the most powerful in recent years to hit the disaster-prone archipelago, which lies between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, reported Vatican News.
Villages have been washed away in flash floods or buried by landslides, roofs of houses and shelters have been ripped off and at least 227 cities and towns lost electricity, which has since been restored in only 21 areas.