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» 08/18/2010
VATICAN - PAKISTAN
Benedict XVI's appeal for flood victims in Pakistan
The pope asks for solidarity and concrete support for the country prostrated by monsoon rains. About 20 million people have been affected, 1,600 were killed. Risk from hunger and disease.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI has appealed to Christians and the international community to show solidarity and support to victims of floods in Pakistan.

Speaking at the end of today’s general audience at Castel Gandolfo, in front of 2,000 pilgrims, the pope said his thoughts turned first to the "dear people of Pakistan" hit by " severe flooding" that has caused "numerous victims and left many families homeless”.

He then added: "As I entrust to the merciful goodness of God all those who are tragically gone, I express my spiritual closeness to their families and all who suffer because of this disaster. Our solidarity and the concrete support of the international community must not be lacking to these our sorely tried brothers and sisters!".

For over three weeks entire regions of Pakistan have been hit by monsoon rains of exceptional intensity, destroying homes and crops. It is estimated that at least one fifth of the country is under water, more than 20 million people have been affected and at least 1,600 are dead.

The commitment of the government and army, as well as international organizations has been hampered by damage to infrastructure: roads and bridges were washed away or are blocked by landslides. According to some NGOs at least 6 million people need emergency aid, while hundreds of thousands have not received anything yet, because of communication difficulties.

People have lost everything in the disaster - crops, seeds, agricultural machinery, houses - there is the risk of hunger and epidemics.

Last week the UN made an appeal for 459 million dollars for emergency aid. So far 40% of the funds has been collected.

Even Caritas Italy has opened a subscription for emergency aid.

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See also
08/19/2010 PAKISTAN
Aid slow to arrive in Pakistan
by Fareed Khan
12/10/2006 VATICAN
Pope: "Urgent pacific solutions" for Middle East and Lebanon
11/03/2011 THAILAND
20% of Bangkok flooded. Number of victims up to 437
by Weena Kowitwanij
08/16/2010 PAKISTAN - UN
Ban Ki-moon’s "heart-wrenching" visit to the flood victims of Pakistan
08/05/2010 PAKISTAN
Pakistan, Caritas commitment to flood victims

Editor's choices
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by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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