Pope Francis prays at the general audience in Paul VI Hall on Feb. 16, 2022. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Vatican City, Feb 19, 2022 / 09:30 am (CNA).
Pope Francis is praying for the victims of cyclones in Madagascar, which have displaced thousands and killed more than 100 people this month.
The pope sent a telegram to Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina on Feb. 19, as the island in the Indian Ocean braces for another potential storm heading its way.
“Having learned with great sorrow of the wounds that have once again struck the island of Madagascar, through repeated cyclones, floods and the destruction of houses, Pope Francis expresses his prayerful communion with all those affected by these natural disasters,” said the telegram, which was sent on the pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Tropical storm Dumako hit Madagascar on Feb. 15, killing at least 14 people and forcing 4,323 to seek shelter with the state disaster relief agency, according to Reuters. Earlier this month, 124 people were killed by tropical cyclone Batsirai.
Madagascar’s national meteorological service predicts that another cyclone could hit the island on Feb. 22.
“Deeply saddened by these events, he expresses his profound solidarity with those affected by this tragedy and prays for the repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and the consolation of all those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and their homes,” the telegram said.
“The Holy Father offers his encouragement to the civil authorities and the rescue services, and as a token of comfort, he gladly invokes divine blessings on all.”
Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries. Pope Francis visited the island during his most recent trip to Africa in September 2019.