ROME — The Vatican announced Thursday that Pope Francis is sending 100,000 euros in relief aid to victims of a devastating earthquake that struck Albania this week.
The powerful earthquake struck the northern coast of Albania, with its epicenter near the city of Durazzo, leaving behind dozens of dead and at least 600 people injured, while many more are still under the rubble. The seism, which registered 6.4 on the Richter scale and was felt in throughout Albania and along the Adriatic coast, caused enormous damage, including numerous collapsed buildings and hundreds of homeless people.
The Vatican said that Pope Francis “has decided to send an initial contribution of 100,000 euros to the relief of the population in this immediate emergency phase” through the Department for Integral Human Development. The money will be channeled through the Catholic dioceses involved in the earthquake in relief and assistance works, in agreement with the pope’s nuncio in Albania.
“The Holy Father thus wishes to express his spiritual closeness and his paternal support towards the people and territories affected,” the Vatican communiqué stated.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis personally reached out to the Albanian nation, promising his closeness and prayers for them.
“I would like to send a greeting and my closeness to the dear Albanian people, who have suffered so much in recent days,” he said at the end of his weekly General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square. “Albania was the first country in Europe that I wanted to visit. I am close to the victims, I pray for the dead, for the wounded, for the families. Let the Lord bless this people to whom I love so much.”
On Thursday, Albania suffered a significant aftershock registering 5.1 on the Richter scale, which brought the number of known dead to 47.