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Pope Francis offers prayers after Taiwan earthquakes

Residents wait to take their personal belongings after an earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan (Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with those affected by a massive earthquake and series of aftershocks in Taiwan earlier this week.

The Holy Father “offers the assurance of his prayers for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured,” in a telegram sent on Wednesday.

It was signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and addressed to Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming of Hwalien.

According to Reuters, the death toll has risen to 10. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake, which struck Hualien on Tuesday, has injured 270 people. Rescue work has been hampered by more than 220 aftershocks following the main quake, including a 5.7 quake late on Wednesday.

“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 message read.

The president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, said authorities “would not give up” on disaster relief efforts.