By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Pope Francis has once again appealed for help for quake victims of Turkey and Syria during his General Audience in the Vatican on Wednesday morning.
Addressing those present, the Pope said, his thoughts go at this time to the peoples of the neighbouring countries, hard hit by the earthquake that caused thousands of deaths and injuries.
“With emotion I pray for them, and express my closeness to these peoples, to the families of the victims and to all those who are suffering from this devastating calamity.”
Appeal to show solidarity
The Pope thanked those who are working to bring relief, and encouraged everyone to show solidarity with those territories, "some of which have already been battered by a long war."
“Let us pray together that these brothers and sisters of ours may move forward in the face of this tragedy, and let us ask Our Lady to protect them: Hail Mary, ...”
This marks the latest exhortation of the Holy Father to help.
Death toll exceeds 11,000
Two earthquakes struck southeastern Turkey early on Monday, devastating wide areas in the country and in neighbouring Syria. The quake toppled hundreds of buildings and killed thousands of people
The death toll has already exceeded 11,000, and the figure is expected to grow significantly.
The Pope renewed his closeness to the people of Turkey and Syria on Tuesday with a tweet expressing his closeness in "the midst of this appalling tragedy."
“I remain close with all my heart to the people affected by the earthquake in #Türkiye and #Syria. I continue to pray for those who have lost their lives, as well as the injured, family members, and rescuers. May our concrete aid sustain them in the midst of this appalling tragedy.”
Pope's continued closeness
Already on Monday, the Pope sent telegrams to Turkey and Syria to offer his condolences, asking the Apostolic Nuncios, Archbishop Marek Solczynski in Turkey and Cardinal Mario Zenari in Syria, to convey his spiritual closeness.
On the same day, the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States opened the Earthquake Aid for Turkey and Syria Fund to help the suffering.
Proceeds from this fund will support missionary priests, religious women and lay missionaries on the ground providing assistance to those impacted by the disaster.