2016-05-09 15:11:00

Pope sends prayers to those affected by Canadian fire

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his prayers and assurance of closeness to all those affected by the fire raging in the northern Canadian region of Alberta.

A letter sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Pope says “the Holy Father is saddened by the destruction and suffering caused by the fires raging in the Fort McMurray area”.

Some 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the area that has been devastated by a fire that has destroyed 1,600 buildings.

The letter to local bishops said “the Pope is praying for all the displaced people - especially children - who have lost their homes”.

An estimate of 20% of Fort McMurray homes have been burnt to the ground in the fire that started on May 1 and spread across 1,000 square kilometers. 

Schools in the provincial capital Edmonton are arranging for displaced families to send their children to local schools from Monday.

On Sunday cooler temperatures and a little rain led to fire fighters speaking of getting a "death grip" on the fire, which has been fed by hot weather and tinder dry terrain.
But it could be months before the fire is fully brought under control. Officials warned only significant rainfall could fully halt its spread.

The city of Fort McMurray has grown exponentially in the last 25 years thanks to an economy based on the extraction of oil in the area with its 140,000 square kilometers of  so-called "bitunimous sands". 

The production of crude oil, which has brought money and development to the city, is criticized by environmentalists for the contamination required for production. 

The cause of forest fires is linked to climate change.


All the contents on this site are copyrighted ©.