Pope Saddened By Plight of Earthquake Victims in Guatemala

Over 17,000 Locals Displaced by Devastating Natural Disaster

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 9, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram yesterday to Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela of Vera Paz, President of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala expressing his sadness for the deaths and injuries suffered by victims of the recent earthquake in the region.

The Holy Father conveyed his «spiritual closeness» to the people of Guatemala and offered his prayers to those affected by the natural disaster.

According to Agenzia Fides, the massive 7.4 earthquake rocked the Central American nation causing 48 deaths, hundreds of injured victims, and over 17,000 people displaced from their homes. A red alert was still in affect due to the possibility of aftershocks.

The devastating natural disaster caused two landslides at a major highway in Guatemala, preventing vehicles making their way to the affected areas. Fides also reports that the powerful quake was felt as far away as El Salvador and Mexico.

«I offer fervent prayers for the eternal repose of the victims and pray to the Almighty that He may grant consolation to those affected by this terrible disaster, and inspire in everyone sentiments of fraternal solidarity to face this adversity,» the Holy Father said.

The Holy Father ended his telegram encouraging both Christians and civilians to aid the victims of the earthquake. «I also earnestly encourage the Christian communities, civil institutions and men and women of goodwill to lend their assistance to the victims, with generosity of spirit and willing charity,» the Pope said.

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