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Pontifical Mission Societies launch fund for quake victims in Turkey, Syria

People gather to search for survivors in Aleppo (Photo credit Vatican News)

On Monday, Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States launched the Earthquake Aid for Turkey and Syria Fund to help the earthquake victims affected by the disastrous earthquake.

This contribution will support missionary priests, religious sisters, and lay missionaries helping earthquake victims.

"While it is too early to know the full amount of the destruction wreaked by the earthquake, experience tells us that the days ahead will be critical," said Monsignor Kieran Harrington, US National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS).

Citing the officials, CNN reported more than 7900 died, and tens of thousands were injured as of February 7 due to the tragic magnitude 7.8 earthquake at 4:17 AM local time and the 7.5 Ritcher Scale earthquake at lunchtime on Monday in Turkey and Syria.

CNN added that more than 4 million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance amid the thousands of collapsed buildings in Turkey and Syria.

"Missionaries are ready to assist," Monsignor Harrington added, "The national director in Turkey is already working with local NGOs to ensure that every dollar sent goes directly to those most impacted by this tragedy."

Pope Francis also expressed his sadness for the victims of the disastrous earthquake on Monday, and he renewed his condolence and closeness to the people of Turkey and Syria on Tuesday with a tweet.

"I remain close with all my heart to the people affected by the earthquake in #Türkiye and #Syria. I continue to pray for those who have lost their lives, as well as the injured, family members, and rescuers. May our concrete aid sustain them in the midst of this appalling tragedy," the Pope said.

The Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria, called this tragic earthquake "a new tremendous bomb, lethal and unknown".

The Chaldean Bishop told Fides, "[A] city of two and a half million inhabitants is without electricity, water, and heating. It is very cold, winter is harsh. I see people in the streets or in cars. They are afraid, they do not know what will happen, because it may not be over, and there are rumors that new strong and devastating tremors may follow." 

The Pontifical Mission Societies USA will distribute funding via Catholic dioceses and trustworthy partner organizations to meet the immediate and ongoing needs of communities affected by this devastating disaster.

"In upcoming days, these numbers will continue to go up," Monsignor Harrington commented. "Our hope is that Catholics in the United States will respond generously, providing critical resources to alleviate human suffering."

Through local Bishops, parishes, and missionary communities, the US Pontifical Mission Societies distribute money equitably and justly depending on Church needs.

The PMS sends money directly from the US to mission territory Bishops, connecting the two local Churches.

One can donate here to the Earthquake Aid for Turkey and Syria Fund to facilitate pastoral care. - With inputs from Vatican News


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