Pontiff Urges Aid for Cyclone-stricken Bangladesh

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI expressed his condolences to the nation of Bangladesh in the wake of a tropical cyclone that left more than 2,200 dead, houses destroyed and acres of farmland in ruins.

After reciting the Angelus today with the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said, "In recent days southern Bangladesh was struck by a terrible cyclone that injured and killed numerous people and caused grave destruction."

Tropical Cyclone Sidr struck the southern Asia country Thursday, affecting more than 2.7 million. The deadly storm destroyed 773,000 homes in southwest Bangladesh, and also ruined nearly 77,450 acres of farmland just before harvest season, reported the Associated Press.

"In renewing my profound condolences to the families and the whole nation, which is so dear to me," the Pontiff said, "I appeal for international solidarity, which has already moved to assist with immediate necessities. I ask that every possible effort be made to succor these sorely tried brothers."

Many countries have already pledged aid to the government’s post-cyclone relief and rehabilitation programs. The United Nations announced today that it will provide over $6 million, the European Union reported that it has already released $2.2 million in aid, and on Saturday the United States announced it was sending $2.1 million.