Pope Francis sent love and prayers to the Philippines, which is now dealing with the aftermath of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) that left hundreds dead, scores injured, and leveled entire communities in parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
“I express my closeness to the population of the Philippines, struck by a strong typhoon that has caused many deaths and destroyed so many homes,” the head of the Catholic Church wrote on Twitter.
“May the ‘Santo Niño’ bring consolation and hope to the families of those most affected,” he continued, adding the hashtag #PrayTogether.
As of Monday, Dec. 20, the death toll from the strongest typhoon that struck the archipelago in 2021 has reached 208. According to an AFP report, it has also left 239 people injured and 52 missing.
Odette destroyed houses, trees, and power poles in Visayas and Mindanao. Among the areas that have been heavily affected as the storm hit with wind speeds of 195 kilometers per hour are popular tourist destinations like Bohol, Cebu, and Siargao.
Around 500,000 people have been displaced since it slammed certain regions of the country.
The country is regularly visited by an average of 20 storms in a year, half of which usually hitting land, upending livelihood and lives in its wake.