Pope: Appeal for Indonesian flood victims

2013-01-23 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict has appealed for prayers and solidarity for the thousands of people in Indonesia affected by heavy flooding.

In an appeal at the end of the audience he said: “I am following with concern the news coming from Indonesia, where a major flood has devastated the capital Jakarta, causing victims, displacing thousands and provoking extensive damage. I wish to express my closeness to the people affected by this natural disaster, assuring my prayers and encouraging solidarity so that no one lacks necessary help”.

Jakarta is tallying the damages caused by that have left - according to the latest estimates - a total of 26 people dead and sent more than 100,000 fleeing their homes.

Most of the victims were electrocuted or drowned by floodwaters reaching up to two meters high in some places. About 103,000 people are now living in temporary shelters.

The floods reached their peak Thursday after a dike in central Jakarta collapsed. They engulfed around 30 percent of the city of 14 million, including its business district center and the presidential palace.

The crisis has also affected several areas inhabited by Catholic communities, with the faithful in the front row - even though they are a small minority - in disaster relief and bringing aid to the people

Officials are also warning that more water is on its way

January is typically the wettest month in Jakarta, the political and economic capital of southeast Asia's largest country. But the low-lying city has already experienced more rainfall since Tuesday last than it usually gets in the entire month of January.