Cologne, Germany, Jul 15, 2021 / 19:29 pm (CNA).
The pope sent a telegram of condolence Thursday to the German president, following flooding in the country’s west that has killed at least 70 persons.
Rivers overflowed their banks in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands after heavy rainfall.
Most of the dead are in Germany, though at least 11 persons in Belgium have died, the BBC reported.
“Deeply affected, the Holy Father has learned the news of the severe storm and floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate,” read a July 15 telegram sent on Pope Francis’ behalf to Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“His Holiness remembers in prayer the people who have lost their lives and expresses his profound closeness to their families.”
The messaged added that Francis is praying “especially for the people who are still missing, for the wounded, and for those whose property has suffered damage or been lost due to the power of nature.”
The pope also indicated his prayers for those working in search and rescue operations.
Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, president of the German bishops’ conference, expressed his dismay at the “extent of the severe storm yesterday”.
“My thoughts go with the deceased, their families, all the injured and victims of the floods. Many people are still missing – I sincerely hope that they are found unharmed, and that all who are in need, who have lost their belongings or their roof over their heads, will find consolation, hope and help”.
Bishop Batzing added: “My heartfelt thanks and all my respect go to all those who have been providing untiring and selfless help since yesterday and often risking their own lives: the rescue workers, the fire brigade, the police, and all people who help and stand by the side.”
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