Church leaders haveappealed to the world to give generously to help survivors of southern Asia's devastating tsunami. In an address read by a senior aide today, the Pope said: "The international community and many humanitarian organisations rapidly mobilised assistance. Many Church charity institutions are doing the same. "In the Christmas spirit of these days, I invite all of the faithful and men of good will to contribute generously to this great solidarity effort for a population already hard hit and exposed now to the risk of disease." The Pope said he was praying for survivors. "I'm very close to them, with affection and prayer, especially those who are injured and homeless, while I entrust to divine mercy the innumerable people who have lost their lives," he said. The Vatican has raised six million dollars in aid so far through Church charities to support relief efforts. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor gave his backing to CAFOD and Caritas Internationalis in their efforts to bring relief to Asian countries affected by the tsunami disaster. The Cardinal said: "I have been horrified by the catastrophe in Asia. So many lives have been affected and there is so much to do. I hope as many people as possible will join me in praying for all those touched by the tragedy and will give their generous support to CAFOD's relief efforts." The Disasters Emergency Committee is coordinating an appeal for emergency relief. Please donate by telephone on 0870 60 60 900 or online at www.dec.org.uk
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