The Pontifical Council Cor Unum reported in a press statement today that, "in the wake of the floods provoked by torrential rains in Poland, a disaster on an unprecedented scale that has led to many victims and massive evacuations, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum has sent Archbishop Jozef Michalik, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, a papal gift to assist the flood victims and evacuees in the worst hit ecclesiastical areas.

"The Holy Father's gesture through Cor Unum is intended to show his closeness and his paternal encouragement to those who are generously offering aid relief".

Some 15 have died and thousands of families have been displaced due to the floods currently affecting Poland, which is the worst the country has seen in 160 years.

The Oder and Vistula rivers began to rise last week when heavy rains hit the country, with the southern regions of the country being more severely affected.

Polish health officials are warning that the situation could worsen if cases of tetanus or stomach viruses surface as a result of water contamination.