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首页 > 英语学习 > BBC新闻 > 正文
BBC News:Pope Francis visits typhoon-hit Tacloban in Philippines

Pope Francis will meet survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban on Saturday on day two of his Philippines visit.

He is expected to use the visit to the city, which was devastated by the country's worst ever natural disaster in 2013, to talk about climate change.

He will hold an open air Mass in the coastal city, which is 650 km (400 miles) southeast of the capital Manila.

The Pope is visiting the Philippines, where there are 80 million Catholics, as part of a six-day tour of Asia.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to celebrate Mass with the pontiff at Tacloban airport on Saturday morning, before Pope Francis visits some of the areas hit worst by Haiyan, which killed more than 7.000 people.

The typhoon, which remains the strongest storm ever recorded on land, created a 7m (23ft) high storm surge, destroying practically everything in its path when it swept ashore on 8 November 2013.

Around 90% of the city of Tacloban in Leyte province was destroyed and more than 14.5 million people were affected in six regions and 44 provinces. About one million people remain homeless.

Pope Francis will have lunch with survivors of the disaster when he travels to the nearby town of Palo later on Saturday.

Heavy rain is forecast to hit Tacloban but the pontiff's aides said the trip would still go ahead.

The rain is pouring in Tacloban. But that is not discouraging hundreds of thousands of people from coming out to see Pope Francis.

Many began assembling at the airport before sunset on Friday, standing patiently in the open all night in their clear plastic ponchos. No umbrellas are being allowed.

One family I met had driven 18 hours from Davao City in Mindanao. They didn't have any tickets for the mass, but were unconcerned, only hoping to take a small part in what is the biggest event this city has ever seen.

Tacloban is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 7,000 people here just over a year ago. Pope Francis will meet families of some of the victims. One is Dr Clara Rosa. She lost 11 members of her family.

I asked her what it meant to her to meet Pope Francis today. "It is like having a friend visit you while you are grieving" she said, struggling to hold back tears. "You are happy your friend has come, but it is for a very sad reason".

Speaking at a welcoming ceremony in Manila on Friday, Pope Francis said he admired the "heroic strength, faith and resilience" shown by the country after the typhoon.

He also called on the country's leaders to end the "scandalous social inequalities" and corruption in the Philippines.

He said it was a Christian duty to "break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities".

The Philippines, like many countries in Asia, has corruption issues.

Corruption activist group Transparency International put the Philippines at 85 in its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, level with India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

But President Benigno Aquino countered by accusing many Catholic clergy of remaining silent about abuses conducted under former President Gloria Arroyo.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Manila says there was an atmosphere of celebration on the streets of Manila when the Pope arrived.

Roads in the city centre were shut off, and big screens erected to show the Mass at the cathedral.

A national holiday has been declared in the capital for the duration of the Pope's visit.

Security is very tight, with tens of thousands of soldiers and police deployed, after failed attempts to kill two previous popes in the Philippines.

The centrepiece of his visit will be an open-air Mass in Manila on Sunday, which is expected to attract millions.

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