2006-05-28 14:01:47


(May 28, 2006): Pope Benedict mourned the victims of Indonesia's earthquake on Saturday and urged rescue workers to persevere in their efforts to assist survivors. Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano sent a message on behalf of the Pope to Indonesia’s church and civil authorities on Saturday. The Pope came to know of the tragedy in Poland where he was on an apostolic visit. "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI prays for the victims and their grieving families, invoking eternal peace upon the deceased and divine comfort and consolation on all who are suffering," the message read. "His Holiness likewise encourages the rescue workers and all involved in providing medical assistance to the victims of this disaster to persevere in their efforts to bring relief and support," the message read. The 6.2 magnitude quake, centred on the city of Yogyakarta, struck just after dawn, and as of Sunday evening had killed more than 4,600 people, injured 20,000 and left more than 100,000 have homeless. The numbers keep rising as news of more deaths and casualties are confirmed.
Meanwhile, Catholic charities across the world have swung into action rushing aid to Yogyakarta province. Members of Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church’s worldwide national charity agency, have contacted local Church leaders to find out ways to better assist the people. "Local Churches are already housing people," said Caritas Internationalis Secretary General, Duncan MacLaren in a press release in Rome. Members from Caritas in Indonesia, the Netherlands, Germany and the United State are "going to the area to see how they can assist," he said. Yogyakarta is noted for Catholic Church’s presence in the Muslim dominated nation. "The seven Catholic hospitals in the area have opened their doors and we are preparing to help as much as we can," MacLaren said.
Saturday’s quake was the third major tremor to devastate Indonesia in 18 months - the worst being that of December 26, 2004. That under-water quake that resulted in a devastating tsunami left more than 230,000 people in Aceh and in the Indian Ocean rim dead or missing.

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