In the early hours of Monday February 6, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Turkey’s border with northern Syria killing thousands of people and turning buildings into rubble.
The earthquake and the aftershocks that followed have already killed more than 21,000 people, injured hundreds more and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings.
During his General Audience in the Vatican on Wednesday morning, Pope Francis said his thoughts go at this time to the peoples of the neighbouring countries, hard hit by the earthquake that caused thousands of deaths and injuries.
“With emotion I pray for them, and express my closeness to these peoples, to the families of the victims and to all those who are suffering from this devastating calamity.”
The Pope thanked those who are working to bring relief, and encouraged everyone to show solidarity with those territories, “some of which have already been battered by a long war.”
“Let us pray together that these brothers and sisters of ours may move forward in the face of this tragedy, and let us ask Our Lady to protect them: Hail Mary, ….”
Responding to the emergency, CAFOD’s local experts are already on the ground and assessing the needs of those affected by the earthquake. The charity has already committed £100,000 to support local experts who are on the ground providing urgent humanitarian support to survivors of the earthquake in the worst-affected areas.
Jane Crone, CAFOD’s representative in the Diocese of East Anglia, said: “The Catholic community in East Anglia have responded to the news of the earthquake through prayer and generous donations to our emergency appeal. A number of parishes are holding special collections this weekend.”
“Our local partners are working tirelessly to support the search and rescue operation, as well as making sure people have water, hot meals, warm clothing and somewhere safe to go,” said Hombeline Dulière, CAFOD’s Programme Manager for Syria Crisis Response. “It is heart-breaking that this disaster has hit people who have already suffered so much. The impact has been catastrophic and will be felt in the country for years to come.”
CAFOD is part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which unites 15 member charities who are experts in humanitarian aid and specialists in different areas of disaster response. DEC has launched an appeal at: www.dec.org.uk
To donate and to find out more about how CAFOD partners are responding on the ground visit: cafod.org.uk
Pictured above: “The emergency response of the Turkish authorities, the search and rescue teams and the Red Crescent was fast and efficient,” says Carlos Afonso, ECHO’s Rapid Response Coordinator sent to the disaster area. Picture courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.