Pope Francis has decided to send an initial contribution of $100,000 to Haiti to help with emergency recovery in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the Vatican announced Friday.
Donated through the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the money will be used
to support flood victims, and “is intended as a first and immediate
concrete expression of the feelings of paternal spiritual closeness and
encouragement of the Holy Father toward the people and territories
affected,” an Oct. 14 communique from the Vatican read.
Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in the morning on Oct. 4. A category four
storm with winds racing at 145mph, it is the most powerful Caribbean
storm in a decade, devastating Haiti, which is still reeling from the
catastrophic earthquake that crushed much of the country in 2010.
With more than 1,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, according
to the BBC, Haiti was hardest hit in the southeast, with many in towns
and fishing villages killed by debris, falling trees and swollen rivers.
The Pope’s contribution to the relief effort is part of aid activated
throughout the Catholic Church immediately following the storm.
Numerous bishops’ conferences and charitable organizations have all
stepped in to help Haiti, including Caritas Haiti, in collaboration with
Caritas Internationalis, which has now launched a first appeal for
emergency aid to 2,700 families for the purchase and distribution of
food and hygiene kits, the communique says.
After the storm, Pope Francis assured his prayers and solidarity with
all those affected: “Learning of the devastation wrought by hurricane
Matthew, which has caused numerous victims and considerable damage, His
Holiness Pope Francis expresses his sadness and assures his prayer for
all those who have lost a loved one,” an Oct. 7 telegram read.
Signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and
addressed to the president of the Haitian Bishops Conference, Cardinal
Chibly Langlois, the letter expressed the Pope’s “deep sympathy in these
According to the BBC, some 1.4 million people are in need of assistance.
The United Nations has pledged $120 million in emergency funds to
support medical help, shelter, water and sanitation.
The latest crisis is the fear of another cholera outbreak, such as the
one that occurred after the devastating 2010 earthquake, which caused
the deaths of 10,000 people, the BBC reported.
The World Health Organization is sending a million doses of the cholera
vaccine to Haiti, where more than 200 cases of the disease have already
been reported since the hurricane hit.
In his initial telegram, the Pope entrusted the deceased to the mercy of
God, asking that the Lord would “welcome them into his light.” He
assured his closeness to the injured and those who have lost their
homes, and encouraged solidarity.
The Pope entrusted the Haitian people to the “maternal protection” of
Our Lady of Perpetual Help and gave them his Apostolic Blessing.