Pope Francis Hurricane Harvey

More than 35 people have died and property damage are in billions

Pope Francis sent a letter expressing his sympathy for people devastated by Hurricane Harvey. In his communication to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, who is also President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the pontiff offered his pastoral concern to all individuals affected by violent hurricane. The letter was signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Vatican. The pope also offered prayers for hurricane victims, along with their families, for the vital task of rebuilding, relief and recovery.

Hurricane Harvey, until now, is believed to be the cause of about 38 confirmed deaths. The United States have suffered 37 fatalities including one in Guyana. A casual calculation of property damage comes anywhere between $10 billion and $160 billion. On August 25, Harvey reached land. This lead to a staggering 40 inches of rain falling over a period of four days. These statistics made this hurricane the wettest cyclone in U.S. meteorological records.

Harvey first destroyed parts of east Houston. It then went to Port Arthur, leaving swathes of destruction on its wake. It then hit Louisiana, forcing thousands to flee their homes. Even though flood waters continue to recede in Houston, about a third of the metropolis is under water. Rescuers are not sure about the number of people who needs assistance.

Pope Francis' letter says, he is “deeply moved by the tragic loss of life and the immense material devastation that this natural catastrophe has left in its wake. He prays for the victims and their families, and for all those engaged in the vital work of relief, recovery and rebuilding,”

The communication also mentioned the huge material devastation which this catastrophe has caused to victims as well as their families. The pontiff also sends regards to all people engaged in rebuilding, relief and recovery. The letter continues on to say that the pontiff trusts that the immediate and large needs of so many communities and individuals will inspire substantial mutual aid and solidarity in America's best interests. The text concluded by saying that the pontiff sends blessings with due pledge of God's peace, consolation and strength.

The bishops' conference in the United States has asked dioceses present all over the country to initiate a collection fund specially for the funding of relief efforts for the hurricane victims. This action will be done during the first two weekends of September. In the letter, Archbishop Jose Gomez, the conference vice president wrote, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses along with their sense of peace and normalcy.” 

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