Pope offers prayers for victims of cyclone Agaton in Philippines

April 15, 2022 - 12:22 PM
Typhoon Agaton
A general view shows damages after a landslide caused by tropical storm Megi, that hit Philippines' eastern and southern coasts, in Baybay city, eastern province of Leyte, Philippines, in this still image taken from a video April 11, 2022. Video taken with a drone April 11, 2022. (Reuters)

Pope Francis conveyed his prayers and solidarity to the Filipinos affected by Typhoon Megi which so far has claimed more than 100 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people.

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.

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 Filipinos of 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 Jose Advincula also expressed solidarity with the victims. During his Chrism Mass homily at Manila Cathedral on Holy Thursday, the archbishop of Manila asked the faithful to remember them in their prayers.

Nearly one million people have been affected by the typhoon, over 200,000 people displaced, while more than 35,000 were pre-emptively evacuated, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

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 (Odette), 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 (Yolanda) left more than 7,300 people dead and missing.