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POPE-TYPHOON Aug-12-2009 (220 words) With photos posted Aug. 10 and 12. xxxi

Pope prays for victims of typhoons, earthquakes

By Catholic News Service

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers for the peoples of the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Japan facing the death and destruction of recent typhoons and earthquakes.

"I want to demonstrate my spiritual closeness to all those who find themselves in situations of serious difficulty and I ask everyone to pray for them and for those who lost their lives," the pope said Aug. 12 at the end of his weekly general audience.

"I hope the relief of solidarity and the help of material aid will not be lacking," he told pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.

Typhoon Morakat struck the Philippines Aug. 5, leaving 22 people dead. By Aug. 8, Morakat had moved to Taiwan where the heavy rains triggered mudslides and 66 people died. The storm moved onto mainland China Aug. 9 and was blamed for the deaths of six people. Thousands in all three countries were left homeless.

In Japan, an earthquake of magnitude 6.9 struck Aug. 9, Typhoon Etau hit Aug. 10, and another quake, this one of magnitude 6.5, struck Aug. 11. The deaths of 14 people were blamed on the typhoon; the second earthquake injured more than 100 people, but Japanese media were reporting only one death.


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