Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the recent shipwreck near Lampedusa during today’s General Audience. The Pope’s words come as news that there are more victims than originally thought.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported an estimated 203 lives were lost at sea according to the accounts of nine survivors who were rescued and brought to the Italian coast on Wednesday morning.
A UNHCR spokeswoman said that the migrants had been traveling from sub-Saharan Africa since Sunday with no food or water. The cold waters of the Mediterranean caused some to die from hypothermia, while another vessel capsized as their motors weren’t powerful enough to face the high waves.
In his remarks, the Holy Father told pilgrims that he was following the news coming in from Lampedusa as well as praying for the victims. “I want to assure you of my prayers for the victims and once encourage solidarity, so that no lacks the necessary relief,” he said.
Pope Francis has repeatedly called for compassion for migrants entering the country who often flee violence or persecution. During his visit to Lampedusa in July 2013, the Pope denounced a growing culture that makes people insensitive to the sufferings of others.
“In this world of globalization,” he said, “we have fallen into a globalization of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us; it’s none of our business.”