Pope Francis has departed early from his tour of the Philippines due to Tropical Storm Mekkhala.
However, he did have time to celebrated an emotional mass with survivors of a super typhoon from 14 months ago.
Pope Francis has been on a 5 day tour of the Philippine. He flew from the national capital of Manila to Tacloban. This was the worst affected area from the storm that hit in 2013.
“Long live the pope,” the crowd chanted as he walked off the plane to be immediately buffeted by strong winds and intense rain.
“I would like to tell you something close to my heart,” the pope said as many in the crowd clutched crucifixes and cried.
“When I saw in Rome that catastrophe, I felt I had to be here. And on those very days, I decided to come here. I’m here to be with you.”
Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded on land, left 7,350 people dead or missing in November 2013 as it devastated fishing and farming towns on central islands that were already among the Philippines’ poorest.
Many of those communities are still struggling to recover.
The 78-year-old pontiff acknowledged the enduring pain being experienced by the survivors.