Two papal representatives brought material aid and assurance of the Pope's closeness to the people of Turkey and Syria.
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This week, two papal representatives brought supplies from Pope Francis to the people of Turkey and Syria who have survived the recent devastating earthquakes.
The disaster has killed over 45,000 people and numbers are expected to rise in the days to come, especially after another large quake struck the area yesterday. While incredible — and seemingly miraculous — rescues have taken place, hope has now faded of finding any one else alive under the rubble. Thousands of apartment buildings crumbled in a region already burdened by civil war, strife, and damaged infrastructure.
According to Crux Now, Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Charity, and Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Oriental Churches, have made the visits this week to convey the pope’s closeness to those affected by the tragedy.
Since the earthquake on February 6, Pope Francis has repeatedly offered words of comfort to the Turkish and Syrian people, saying in his Sunday Angelus address that, “The love of Jesus asks us to let ourselves be touched by the situations of those who are tried.”
On February 16, after the Turkish ambassador met the pope in Rome, he then met with Cardinal Krajewski to draw up a list of supplies needed. From the Crux article:
“Immediately everyone in the Vatican got busy preparing, in a single day, ten pallets of foodstuffs loaded onto a truck and destined for Fiumicino airport,” Krajewski said, saying volunteers and airport staff worked round the clock to ensure the aid would arrive to Turkey on Saturday.
“In the Gospel, it always says today, not tomorrow. When Jesus performed miracles, He did them immediately. He did not say in a week or in a while,” the almoner said, saying, “we provided immediately, thanks to the Vatican car park, donations, with so many people helping. In 24 hours, everything was done.”
Applauding the effort, Krajewski voiced his conviction that “love without charity does not exist.”
In addition to aid sent this past weekend, as well as an undisclosed amount of financial aid to support the Syrian people, Pope Francis sent 10,000 thermal sweaters to earthquake victims since millions are now camping outdoors in freeing temperatures. They were scheduled to be personally delivered by Krajewski to the Kilis refugee camp in southern Turkey, which currently serves 60,000 people and has hosted refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war since 2012.
Over the past two weeks, aid groups have been working to assist the people of Turkey and Syria and to help millions who are in need of shelter, food, and clothing.
To make a donation to help those affected by the earthquake, consider these Catholic organizations.