Pope Francis starts fund to help poorer countries fight coronavirus

The funds will be distributed via the Pontifical Missions Societies, which supports the work of more than 1,100 dioceses mostly in Africa, Asia Oceania and part of the Amazon region.

Pope Francis is pictured at St. Peter's Basilica during an extraordinary "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing - normally given only at Christmas and Easter -, as a response to the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Vatican, March 27, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/YARA NARDI/POOL)
Pope Francis is pictured at St. Peter's Basilica during an extraordinary "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing - normally given only at Christmas and Easter -, as a response to the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Vatican, March 27, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/YARA NARDI/POOL)
Pope Francis has started an emergency fund to help areas affected by the coronavirus in developing countries, the Vatican said on Monday.
It said in a statement that the pope had designated $750,000 of funds at his disposal as an initial contribution. He has asked Church entities and dioceses to contribute as they can.
The funds will be distributed via the Pontifical Missions Societies, which supports the work of more than 1,100 dioceses mostly in Africa, Asia Oceania and part of the Amazon region.
Last month, Francis donated 30 ventilators to Italian hospitals in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.