Pope Grieves for Victims of Philippine Typhoon

Urges "Swift and Generous" Aid

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MANILA, Philippines, OCT. 10, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI expressed his "deep sadness" over the loss of lives and devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Xangsane.

In a letter signed Oct. 3 by Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father promised "fervent prayers for the dead," reported the Philippine bishops' conference.

"Having learned with deep sadness of the serious damage inflicted by Typhoon Xangsane/Milenyo in the Philippines, the Holy Father offers fervent prayers for the dead, for those who are still missing, and for all who have lost their homes," wrote Cardinal Bertone.

Benedict XVI hopes that the relief effort "will be swift and generous" in its response and that normality may soon be restored, said the Cardinal.

In the letter addressed to Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila, the Pope also imparted his "apostolic blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord."

The Philipinne bishops reported close to 200 victims from the storm that hit the Philippine coast late September.

Many victims were in remote areas where the disaster caused flash floods and landslides. Winds reached a velocity of 180 kilometers (111 miles) per hour.

Some 43 million Filipinos on the islands of Luzon were without power for 3-5 days. The storm, the worst to hit Manila in a decade, displaced 1.33 million people.