Pope Appeals for Relief for India Quake Victims

125,000 People «Not Accounted For,» Official Says

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II expressed his «great concern» today over the violent earthquake that shook western India on Friday.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, the top official in earthquake-stricken Gujarat state, said about 125,000 people were «not accounted for,» according to CNN. Authorities are predicting the death toll from the quake to rise above 15,000 while some aid agencies say the toll could be as high as 30,000, CNN said.

«I am following the news from India with great concern,» the Pope said, when he greeted thousands of pilgrims who gathered in St. Peter´s Square to pray the Marian Angelus.

«The emergency in El Salvador has not been overcome yet, and now a new earthquake has taken place, which is even more devastating,» the Holy Father said. «I call on all to join their moral and material forces so that our brothers and sisters, who are so sorely tried, will not lack the necessary help.

«While praying for the victims, I express my feeling of profound solidarity and closeness to all Indian and Pakistani peoples, shaken by such great misfortune.»

On Saturday, shortly after hearing the news about the quake, John Paul II sent a telegram to the apostolic nuncio in India, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, expressing his closeness to those affected and to the relatives and loved ones of the dead.

The secretary-general of the ruling BJP party in India said Saturday that the number of victims resulting from the quake could rise to 15,000. Narendra Mody said that 13,000 people had died in the Kutch region, and about 2,000 in other areas of the state of Gujarat.

It is the most powerful and destructive earthquake to have taken place in the Indian subcontinent in the last 50 years.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation