Flooding in Madagascar in the wake of cyclone Batsirai Flooding in Madagascar in the wake of cyclone Batsirai  (ANSA)

Pope prays for victims of natural disasters, hails healthcare workers in remarks after Angelus

Following the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis expresses his closeness to victims of natural disasters, especially in Madagascar and Brazil. He also prays for healthcare workers as Italy observes a National Day for Healthcare Personnel.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis prayed on Sunday for those who have died recently in natural disasters, for consolation for their families, and for support for those who assist them.

In remarks following the Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square, the Holy Father looked especially to Madagascar, which has been struck by a series of cyclones; and to the Petropolis area of Brazil, which has been “devastated” by floods and landslides.

Cyclones in Madagascar

At least 14 people were killed in Madagascar this week by tropical storm Dumako, the state disaster relief agency said, as the island braces for another cyclone due to hit on Tuesday.

Some 4,323 were displaced when Dumako made landfall in the east of the country on Tuesday, the disaster relief agency said late on Friday. They were being housed in 12 sites.

The Indian Ocean island nation is going through its storm season. A total of 124 people were killed earlier this month when tropical cyclone Batsirai slammed the southeastern coast of the island.

Another cyclone, Emnati, is forecast to hit close to the same area affected by Batsirai, said Nomenjanahary Mamy Andriamirado, a weather forecaster with the national meteorological service.

Brazil flooding

The death toll from mudslides and floods in Brazil's colonial-era city of Petropolis has risen to more than 120 people and is expected to increase further as the region reels from the heaviest rains in almost a century.

Heavy downpours in the afternoon Thursday, when the city recorded some 6 cm (2.36 inches) of rain, caused even more soil instability and disrupted efforts to find survivors and clean up the debris.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has pledged federal assistance to help the area recover, after surveying the damage on Friday.

The heroism of health care workers

Pope Francis also noted the observance on Sunday of National Health Personnel Day in Italy, saying we must remember the many doctors, nurses, volunteers, and others who stand beside the sick, treating them, making them feel better, and assisting them in so many ways.

Recalling that “nobody is saved alone,” the Pope said, “in sickness we need someone to save us, to help us.”

The Holy Father recognized the “heroism” shown by health care workers during the Covid emergency while emphasizing that their heroism “remains every day.” He then led the crowds in a round of applause, “and a big ‘Thank you!’” for health care workers.

20 February 2022, 13:22