Pope Francis sends first aid for the relief of Odette

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Pope Francis waves as he leaves after the weekly general audience in the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican, January 19, 2022. (Reuters/Yara Nardi)

Pope Francis is sending thousands of dollars to support ongoing relief efforts for survivors of a devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines in December.

A declaration said 100,000 euros (P5.8 million) was going to the victims of typhoon ‘Odette’ which killed more than 400 people and affected around 7 million others.

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said the fund is an initial contribution for the most affected dioceses and would be administered by the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.

The dicastery noted that it is intended to be “an immediate expression of the Holy Father’s feeling of spiritual closeness and paternal encouragement towards the people and territories concerned”.

“This contribution, which accompanies the prayer of support for the beloved Filipino population, is part of the aid that is active throughout the Catholic Church and which involves, in addition to various episcopal conferences, many charitable organizations,” said he added.

As of January 12, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has already helped more than 180,000 families barely affected by the typhoon.

According to Caritas Philippines, this equates to more than 63 million pula worth of food parcels, drinking water, shelter materials, hygiene kits and other essential emergency items.

The Vatican said the pope also granted the same amount of aid to migrants stranded at the Polish-Belarusian border.

He said the funds would also help Caritas Poland, the country’s largest charity, “to deal with the migration emergency”.

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