Daejeon (AsiaNews) – Prayers are needed at Christmas “but also concrete charity, first and foremost towards people and places dear to us. This is why I invite all the faithful of the diocese to do all in their power to repair the damage done by the oil spillage from the Hebei Spirit, one of the worst ecological disasters to have ever affected us”. This is the heart if the Christmas message published yesterday by Msgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik – bishop of Daejeon and president of Caritas Korea.
December 7th, the Hebei Sprint – a Hong Kong based oil tanker- spilled over 15 thousand tonnes of crude oil into the sea after coming aground along Taean harbour. According to the Korean government this spillage has provoked the “worst ecological disaster” in the nation’s history.
The prelate has expressed his “profound concern for the pollution of the waters and environment, which greatly affect the lives of those living along Korea’ western coast. We must do all we can to repair the damage: I invite everybody to volunteer to clean the beaches and rescue the flora and fauna”. In order to set an example, yesterday Msgr. You spent his entire day cleaning the beach nearest the bishop’s residence: together with him all of the priests of the diocese.
Many Catholic groups are involved in efforts to limit the damage caused by the petrol. Parishes in Seosan – one of the areas worst hit by the disaster – are active in cleaning up the damage: beside them Caritas from Seoul, providing food for the volunteers and care for the animals affected by the spillage. The Association of Superiors for Female Religious has also sent many sisters to the area, and has set aside 12 million won [circa 9thousand Euro ed] for necessary relief items.