Pope Expresses Solidarity With Guatemala

Tropical Storms Leaves 152 Dead, 100 Missing

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 3, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI expressed his sympathy for the victims and damage caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, and appealed to Christians for «sentiments of ardent charity» toward those affected.
The Pope expressed this in a telegram that was signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and released Wednesday by the Vatican. The note was addressed to Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the apostolic nuncio to Guatemala.
Agatha hit the Central American country Tuesday, where the government reports that 152 are dead and some 100 are missing.

In the telegram, Benedict XVI said he was «profoundly grieved on learning of the natural disasters that are affecting this beloved nation, causing victims, wounded and numerous material damages, and leaving many families homeless.»
After expressing his closeness and assuring of his prayers of consolation, the Pope appealed for the increase in the Christian community of «sentiments of ardent charity, to collaborate in the reconstruction of devastated areas.»
The note also exhorted the international community and the Guatemalan authorities that, «moved by fraternal solidarity,» they might render «effective aid to that country to surmount these difficult moments.»

Since last Thursday, Guatemala has been affected by the eruption of the Volcano Pacaya, located near the capital, and the country has suffered serious losses in the agricultural sector. Authorities report that some 60% of the coffee crop has been lost, the country’s main economic resource.

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