Benedict XVI Urges International Aid for Somalia

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 17, 2011 ( Benedict XVI today made an appeal for international solidarity with Somalia, urging that the response come «in time» for these «brothers and sisters of ours, already sorely tried.»

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The Pope referred to the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa when he addressed those who had gathered at the summer papal residence in Castel Gandolfo for the midday Angelus.

Last Thursday, UNICEF called the situation in the Horn of Africa «the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world … with Somalia being the epicenter of the crisis.»

It explained that the «extremely fragile situation, characterized by conflict and insecurity, has escalated at the same time as climatic and price changes were hitting hard on the population.»

The Holy Father noted the severe drought, and other areas affected by intense rains, coming together to create a «humanitarian catastrophe.»

«Innumerable people are fleeing from that tremendous famine in search of food and help,» he said. «I hope that international mobilization will increase to send help in time to these brothers and sisters of ours, already sorely tried, among whom are so many children.»

«May our solidarity, and the concrete support of all people of good will, not be lacking to these suffering populations,» the Pontiff exhorted.

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum has just sent a donation of some $70,000 as a token of the universal Church’s concern.

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