Responding to the devastation wrought by the torrential rains and subsequent flooding in Poland during recent weeks, the Holy Father has sent a financial gift to the Polish Church.
The storm began in Poland roughly two weeks ago, according to Polish Radio reports, first flooding the southern section of the country and now wreaking havoc in the north. The latest news reports say that 15 people have died and tens of thousands more have been displaced.
On Wednesday, the Vatican announced it was sending a monetary gift to the president of the bishops of Poland, Archbishop of Przemysl Jozef Michalik, to help the those in need.
The statement accompanying the donation, which was made through the Vatican’s charity COR UNUM, included Benedict XVI’s wish to express his closeness to the victims of the disaster through the gift. He also offered his “paternal encouragement” to those in position to assist the Polish in relief efforts.
According Polish Radio, Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, has estimated that flood damage could cost over 2.5 billion euros to repair. Emergency financial assistance has been asked of the European Union, but the country is holding off on declaring a state of emergency as it would disrupt the plans to hold presidential elections on June 20.
Tusk said last week that making such a declaration would do little to bring relief to the flood victims.
The Pontifical Council COR UNUM for Human and Christian Development was established in 1971 by Pope Paul VI and has the mission of expressing "the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and making manifest the charity of Christ."