Pope Expresses Sympathy for Victims of Turkish Quake

VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a message of sympathy to civil and religious authorities in Turkey following the earthquake that struck the province of Bingol.

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A provisional count said the quake left 122 dead and 500 injured.

At midday today, 36 pupils of a boarding school were still missing after 117 were rescued and 45 were found dead. The students, ages 7 to 16, were primarily the children of Kurdish peasants.

The papal message, sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, said that the Holy Father «is united in thought and prayer to all the people affected by this new drama.» Other quakes have recently hit Turkey.

The Pope «entrusts all those who died in this catastrophe to the mercy of God Almighty» and «asks God to sustain the injured and families who have lost loved ones and goods.»

The Holy Father «encourages those who are working in the rescue effort, who are sometimes risking their lives, to do everything possible to look for and help survivors.»

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