By Lydia O’Kane
Pope Francis on Friday expressed his closeness to all those who have been affected by the recent storm to hit Southern Nepal which left dozens of people dead and caused extensive damage to homes.
In a telegramme, signed on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis conveys “his solidarity with all affected by this disaster and assures those grieving for deceased and injured family members of his prayers at this difficult time.”
He also offers his prayers "especially for the victims and encourages the emergency personnel as they continue to aid those in need."
The storm hit the district of Bara and surrounding areas last Sunday leaving destruction in its wake. Many of the deaths were caused by walls that collapsed in on homes. The injured were brought to local hospitals and the more serious cases were airlifted to the capital Kathmandu for treatment.
Caritas Nepal providing relief
Laxmi Joshi is Programme Manager with Caritas Nepal. He told Vatican News the race is on to provide shelter and basic needs to those affected ahead of the coming monsoon rains.
Although many lives are claimed by landslides and floods during Nepal's monsoon season, storms causing such high casualties at this time of year have been described as rare.
As relief efforts continue, the provincial government has announced 2,725 dollars in financial aid for the families of each of the dead.