Relief Aid Asked for Quake-Stricken Peru

Papal Telegram of Sympathy Sent

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2001 ( John Paul II expressed his sorrow for the victims of Saturday´s earthquake in Peru, and appealed for international relief aid. <br>
The Civil Defense Institute of Peru reported 71 deaths, 1,178 people injured, 61 people missing. About 20,000 suffered property damage.

Hardest hit were the southern cities of Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna, where old buildings and adobe homes collapsed.

Serious damage was also reported in Camana, where a tidal wave triggered by the quake killed 16 people and damaged the property of 1,500, said Rear Admiral Juan Luis Podesta, chief of civil defense.

In Ayacucho, 252 people were injured and 250 suffered property damage.

«Upon receiving the news of the earthquake, which has had devastating effects, especially in large areas of Peru, causing numerous victims, wounded and considerable material damages,» John Paul II sent a telegram in which he «manifests his special closeness to those affected, offering prayers for the eternal repose of the deceased and asking the Almighty to give consolation and Christian hope to all those suffering this harsh adversity.»

In his message, sent to the Apostolic Nunciature in Lima, the Pope also appealed to «national and international institutions, as well as to all men of good will, to express the necessary solidarity and fraternal charity, and give speedy and effective help to overcome the tragic situation in which so many homeless families and stricken peoples find themselves.»

The Bishop of Rome, currently in Ukraine, expressed his «deep sympathy» to the «relatives of the deceased» and his «paternal solicitude to the wounded and those who have suffered damages, to whom he imparts his heartfelt and comforting apostolic blessing, as a sign of affection for the beloved Peruvian people.»

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