Pope deeply saddened by 'Pablo' devastation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2012 10:26 AM | Updated as of Dec 08 2012 01:16 AM

MANILA,Philippines - Pope Benedict XVI expressed his solidarity for the Filipinos after a typhoon devastated parts of Southern Philippines, a CBCPNews report said.

In a message to the head of the Philippine bishops’ conference, Archbishop Jose Palma, the pope said he “was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the suffering” caused by the recent typhoon.

The pontiff sent his “heartfelt condolences to the families of all who mourn, and he assures those in distress of his spiritual closeness and concern.”

Benedict XVI’s message was relayed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone through the Papal nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto on Thursday.

“He offers fervent prayers for the deceased and for all those who are working to rescue missing persons and to assist the trapped and injured,” said Bertone.

“Upon the beloved people of the Philippines, as a pledge of consolation, hope, and solidarity, His Holiness invokes God’s abundant blessings,” he added.

A quarter million people were homeless and 477 confirmed dead after the Philippines' worst typhoon this year, officials said Thursday, as the government appealed for international help.

Typhoon Pablo ploughed across Mindanao island on Tuesday, flattening whole towns in its path as hurricane-force winds brought torrential rain that triggered floods and landslides.

President Benigno Aquino has sent food and other supplies by ship to 150,000 people on Mindanao's east coast where three towns remain cut off by landslides and wrecked bridges, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said.

Officials said many of the 477 dead victims were poor migrants who found work at landslide-prone sites such as New Bataan and nearby Monkayo towns, either at unregulated gold mines or at banana plantations.

The typhoon wiped out a fourth of the country's banana crop, according to the local industry association. With Agence France-Presse and CBCPNews