VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said he is praying for the people of Mindanao, the island in southern Philippines, devastated by floods and landslides.

Francis spoke noted that the storm "has caused numerous victims and much destruction" as he greeted people in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, hours before he was set to celebrate Christmas Eve vigil Mass.

He said he wanted to assure the population of Mindanao of his prayers.

He prayed that "merciful God receive the souls of the deceased and comfort all those who are suffering for this calamity." He urged those in the square: "Let's pray for these people."

Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin) has claimed more than 120 lives and left some 160 missing. (AP)