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Glacier burst aftermath in Uttarakhand, India Glacier burst aftermath in Uttarakhand, India  (ANSA)

Pope prays for victims of calamity in India

In his greetings at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis expresses his closeness to victims of a devastating flood in northern India, and sends his greetings to millions, across the world, celebrating the Lunar New Year.

By Linda Bordoni

Expressing his closeness to “the victims of a calamity that happened three days ago in the North of India where part of a glacier separated itself provoking violent flooding that devastated the construction sites of two power plants,” Pope Francis said he is praying for the workers who died, for their families and for all those who were harmed and affected.

The disaster struck on Sunday when part of a Himalayan glacier broke off unleashing a devastating flood that has left at least 31 people dead and 165 missing.

Hundreds of rescue workers are scouring mud-filled ravines and valleys in Uttarakhand state searching for survivors. One of the rescue efforts is focused on a tunnel at a hydroelectric power plant where more than three dozen workers have been out of contact since the flood occurred.

Many villages were evacuated when the floodwater, mud and boulders roared down the mountain along the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers, breaking dams, sweeping away bridges, a small hydroelectric project and damaging a bigger one.

Lunar New Year

Pope Francis also had words of greeting for the millions of men and women in the Far East and in various other parts of the world preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year this coming Friday, 12 February.

“To all of them and to their families, I wish to express my heartfelt greetings, together with the wish that the New Year might bear the fruit of fraternity and solidarity,” he said.

He said that “at this particular time, in which we are very concerned about facing the challenges of the pandemic that touches people physically and spiritually, but also influences social relationships,” his hope is that “everyone might enjoy complete health and serenity of life.”

Lastly, the Pope invited everyone to pray for the gift of peace and every other good.

“I would like to remind everyone that these are obtained through goodness, respect, far-sightedness and courage. Never forget to give preferential care to the poorest and the weakest,” he said.

10 February 2021, 12:07