Vatican City, 25 January 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” will visit the areas struck by the typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda on 8 November last year, on behalf of Pope Francis, as a gesture of consolation and spiritual closeness to the population, which now faces the task of reconstruction following the damage wrought by this natural disaster, and also to promote the network of assistance which is already active in these areas.
The mission, according to a press release by “Cor Unum”, will take place from 26 to 31 January, and it will be marked by three moments of special significance: a meeting with Filipino bishops, gathered in their Episcopal Conference in those days; an encounter with the president of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, and a visit to the area of Tacloban, which was most severely affected by the typhoon.
In the context of the visit, Cardinal Sarah will present, in the name of the Holy Father and through “Cor Unum”, a plan for the new building of an orphanage and a rest home for the elderly. The building will include, among other things, a small convent for the nuns, a chapel and a dispensary.
According to recent reports by Caritas Philippines / Nassa, typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda caused over 5,500 deaths, more than 26,000 injuries, and almost 2,000 missing persons. Around 3,8 million people, belonging to more than 851,000 families, were left homeless. In total, 12 million people suffered damage or losses of various types, in 574 towns and cities, and now there are fears of epidemics.
As soon as the Holy Father received the news, he decided to make a first contribution, through “Cor Unum”, of 150,000 dollars in emergency aid for the population, in support of the work carried out to assist those left homeless or otherwise affected by the floods, to be added to the funds contributed by the Church as a whole, the local Churches, parishes throughout the world, the Caritas network, and other national and diocesan agencies engaged in charitable works.