Pope prays for victims of typhoon in the Philippines
By Lisa Zengarini
Philippine authorities have confirmed that the death toll from Typhoon Megi has risen to 80, with many still missing and feared dead, while hundreds of thousands of others remain displaced.
Landslides and floods
Many of the deaths occurred in landslides and floods caused when the tropical storm (locally known as Agaton) made landfall on April 10, hitting the eastern and southern coasts of the Philippines with winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 80 kph. Among the worst affected regions are Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.
Prayers for the dead, injured and displaced
In a telegram signed by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis expressed solidarity with all those suffering the consequences of the storm. He also assured his “prayers for the dead, injured, and displaced as well as those engaged in recovery efforts”, and “as a sign of his spiritual closeness” invoked upon all the Filipino people “God’s blessings of strength and peace”.
Cardinal Advincula expresses solidarity
Solidarity with the victims has also been expressed by Cardinal Jose Advincula. During his Chrism Mass homily at Manila Cathedral on Maundy Thursday, the Archbishop of Manila asked the faithful to remember them in their prayers.
Nearly 1 million displaced
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. nearly one million people have been affected by the typhoon, over 200,000 people displaced, while more than 35,000 were pre-emptively evacuated. Over 10,000 hectares of farmland have been affected, with commodities including rice, corn and livestock hit by the tropical storm, the department added.
The Philippines, ranked among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, is hit by an average of 20 tropical storms each year. The country is still reeling from the effects of super Typhoon Rai, the strongest typhoon to have hit the country in 2021, leaving over 400 dead and hundreds of thousands of people homeless. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead and missing.