Pope: Prayers for the Philippines, China, Iran hit by natural disastersAugust 12, 2012 No Comments
August 12, 2012 / MariaNews.com
Pope: Prayers for the Philippines, China, Iran hit by natural disasters
(Vatican Radio) On Sunday Pope Benedict XVI asked Christians world-wide to pray and show solidarity to the people of three Asian nations devastated by recent natural disasters. In an appeal launched after the midday Marian prayer, the Pope said:
“Dear brothers and sisters,My thoughts go at this time to the people of Asia, especially to the Philippines, the People’s Republic of China, hardest hit by violent rains, as well as those of the North-west Iran, hit by a violent earthquake. These events have caused numerous deaths and injuries, thousands of displaced people and extensive damage. I invite you to join me in prayer for those who have lost their lives and for all the people tried by such a devastating disaster. May our solidarity and our support not be lacking to these our brothers and sisters.”.
The death toll from torrential rains that submerged most of the Philippines capital Manila has risen to 85. Nearly two weeks of monsoon rains across the Philippines’ main island of Luzon peaked with a 48-hour deluge earlier this week that battered Manila and surrounding regions.
Meanwhile a powerful typhoon also blasted China this week, with 120 km an hour winds that battered Shanghai. Dozens of people were killed and nearly two million people were evacuated.
However, the largest death toll comes from Iran where twin earthquakes levelled entire villages in the north of the country. The official death toll from the Saturday night quakes is 250 people dead and over 2,000, injured. However according to Iranian state television the number is destined to rise.
Over a thousand rescuers worked through the night to free people trapped under rubble and to reach some of the more remote villages affected.
By early afternoon on Sunday, state television was reporting that search operations had ceased. Hundreds of tents have been set up to house the homeless.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that Saturday’s first quake at 4:53 p.m. (1223 GMT) had a magnitude of 6.4 and struck 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers. The second quake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck 11 minutes later, the U.S.G.S. reported. Its epicenter was 48 kilometers northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 9.8 kilometers.
The quakes hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province. At least six villages were totally leveled, and 133 others sustained damage ranging from 50 to 80 percent.
Some 36 aftershocks jolted the same area and were felt in a wide region near the Caspian Sea, causing panic among the population.
Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one earthquake every day on average, although the vast majority are so small they go unnoticed.
In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam.
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