Illustrative image by Parij Photography (pexels.com)
“I express my closeness to the populations stricken in recent days by natural disasters. I think in particular of the south-east of Madagascar, ravaged by a series of cyclones, and the area of Petropolis in Brazil, devastated by floods and landslides. May the Lord receive the victims in his peace, console their relatives and support those who come to their aid”.
With these words Pope Francis concluded the Angelus prayer on Sunday, February 20, attentive once again to the catastrophes that the climate crisis is causing in different parts of the world.
He also sent a special telegram to Madagascar, signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father lamented “with great sorrow” the damage caused on the island.
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Thousands of Catholics have already committed to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP 15), which will take place in China. We have a responsibility to persuade world leaders who have the power to take urgent action on behalf of our common home.
In the missive addressed to the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, the Holy Father expressed “his prayer in communion with those affected by these natural disasters,” and expressed “his deep solidarity” with those affected by this tragedy and prays for the victims and the healing of the injured.
Ana, Batsirai and then Dumako were three cyclones that brought death and destruction to the island of Madagascar in the space of a few weeks. They killed at least 120 people, and hundreds of thousands were affected in various ways, displaced and starved.
According to the World Food Program, more than 1.6 million of the island’s inhabitants are at risk because seawater invaded rice fields, destroying the crop, the main source of livelihood.
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On the African island, as reported by Vatican News, there are numerous testimonies of missionaries working to help those who lost everything. While attempts are being made to rebuild some areas, the eastern coast is once again on alert for the arrival of Cyclone Emnati in the coming days.
Also, very close to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the city of Petrópolis suffered heavy flooding last week, causing at least 120 deaths, more than 200 missing and more than 80 houses destroyed, with hundreds of evacuated families left with nothing.
As he has done on numerous occasions, the Holy Father is concerned about the serious consequences that climate change is causing and that in particular affect the poorest and most vulnerable. If you are also concerned, sign the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition now.