The Vatican is joining the Italian government and NGOs in sending help to the suffering people of Turkey and Syria.
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis has provided 10,000 thermal shirts for people who do not have adequate shelter in Turkey and Syria.
The pope has also sent financial aid to Syria through the country’s apostolic nunciature, Vatican almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski told Vatican News.
Boxes of thermal shirts took sail from the port of Naples, Italy, on the morning of Feb. 15, together with other aid from NGOs and the Italian government. The shirts were brought to the southern port city on the evening of Feb. 14 by Krajewski.
The shirts and other supplies are expected to arrive in Turkey’s port city of Iskenderun in two days.
The small city was one of those heavily damaged by the Feb. 6 earthquakes believed to have killed more than 41,000 people in the region — a death toll that rises daily as rescuers continue to search through building rubble.
Iskenderun was also further damaged by subsequent floods and fires.
From Iskenderun, the thermal shirts will be brought to a refugee camp in Kilis, which is close to the border with Syria, less than 40 miles from Aleppo.
Vatican News reported that the Italian nonprofit Fondazione Rava will distribute the shirts to those in need.
Pope Francis urged people to continue to help the devastated region during his weekly Angelus address on Sunday.
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us continue to be close with prayer and concrete support to the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey,” he said Feb. 12.
Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis described how he was moved by the images of pain and suffering from the catastrophe that he saw on television and urged people to “pray and think of what we can do for them.”
The United Nations reports that millions have been left homeless after two back-to-back earthquakes on Feb. 6 led thousands of buildings to collapse in parts of Turkey and Syria.
According to the director of Caritas Syria, the earthquake heavily impacted northwest Syria where 4.1 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance after more than a decade of civil war.
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