Vatican City, Feb 7, 2018 / 05:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After a massive earthquake and a string of aftershocks in Taiwan killed at least seven and injured hundreds more, Pope Francis Wednesday sent a telegram assuring of his prayer for the victims and those engaged in rescue efforts.
Signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and addressed to Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming of Hwalien, the Feb. 7 telegram expressed the Pope’s solidarity “with all those affected by the earthquakes in Taiwan these past days.”
Francis, the telegram said, “offers the assurance of his prayers for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured.”
“As he encourages the civil authorities and emergency personnel engaged in rescue efforts, His Holiness willingly invokes upon all the Taiwanese people the divine blessings of strength and peace.”
The Pope’s telegram was sent after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the East China Sea just 13 miles north of the Taiwanese city of Hwalien late Feb. 6.
Tremors were felt as far north as the capital city of Taipei, which sits roughly 74 miles from Hwalien. At least 15 aftershocks followed, measuring as high as 4.8, and could still be felt Wednesday morning.
According to CNN, at least seven people have been killed and some 258 injured, with dozens still missing. Extensive damage was done to city structures such as buildings and bridges, with many either collapsing or being held up by makeshift beams.
As aftershocks continued to rock the island Wednesday morning, some 600 military personnel and more than 750 firefighters were deployed to comb through rubble to look for survivors and help with rescue efforts.