Pope Francis: appeal for US, UK, South America storm victims

2015-12-30 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for prayerful solidarity with victims of natural disasters that recently struck parts of the United States, Great Britain, and South America (in particular Paraguay). The Holy Father’s appeal came at the end of his catechetical reflection during the General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.

“I invite everyone to pray for the victims of the calamities which in these days have befallen the United States, Great Britain, and South America – particularly Paraguay,” said Pope Francis.

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Paraguay is the country hardest hit by flooding in South America that has spread across Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay as well, causing several fatalities and inflicting massive damage, while driving at least 150 thousand people from their homes. Climatologists say the flooding is due to unusually heavy summer rains resulting from an intense “el Niño” weather phenomenon.

In the United States,  severe weather that included tornadoes and flooding killed dozens of people over the past weekend, and continues to advance across the United States, bringing heavy snow and freezing rain over a great stretch of the country from Texas to northern New England.

The United Kingdom was in the throes of another major north Atlantic storm on Wednesday, after several episodes of severe weather provoked flooding from western Scotland to Wales, and especially in Cumbria and Yorkshire. Storm Frank, as the latest disturbance has been called by meteorologists, was expected to produce more heavy rain and wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h throughout much of the UK through Wednesday.

“May the Lord give comfort to all these peoples,” prayed Pope Francis, “and may fraternal solidarity aid them in their need.”   

(from Vatican Radio)