05/06/2008, 00.00
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Benedict XVI's sadness and solidarity for the victims of Nargis

In a telegram, the pope says he is sure that the international community will be generous in supplying aid to the victims. The head of the Indian bishops' conference also issues an appeal to solidarity.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI expresses his "heartfelt sympathy" for the Burmese stricken by the cyclone "Nargis" and for their families. The pope says he is "deeply saddened by the news of the tragic aftermath" provoked by the disaster.

In a telegram of condolence that Benedict XVI has sent - at the hand of cardinal secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone - to the head of the bishops' conference of Myanmar, Paul Zinghtung Grawng, the pope "invokes God's peace upon the dead and divine strength and comfort upon the homeless and all who are suffering".

Benedict XVI also says he is confident that "the international community will respond with generous and effective relief to the needs of your countrymen", and charges Archbishop Zinghtung Grawng with expressing his solidarity to the civil authorities and the entire population.

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Indian bishops' conference, has also expressed his condolences and closeness to those struck by the cyclone. In a statement, the cardinal also issues an appeal for generosity from the international community.

"Myanmar is our neighbour", he adds, "and their tragedy causes us much pain and anguish.  In moments of crises like this, rehabilitation and relief is of utmost urgency to avert a human disaster and so the Indian Church will send any assistance required to bring succour to the victims".

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