DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     November 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 209

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR INDIAN STORM VICTIMS AS INDIAN CHURCH CANCELS DINNER FOR BISHOPS TO HELP CYCLONE VICTIMS

        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In a telegram addressed to the papal nuncio in India, Pope John Paul II has expressed his "profound sadness" at the news of a devastating storm in the eastern state of Orissa.

        The Pope's telegram-- signed in the Pontiff's name by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State-- assured the affected families of his prayers, and called for international help for the victims. An estimated 10,000 people have been killed by the storm, and as many as 1 million left homeless.

        To show their concern, the Catholic Church in India on Tuesday announced the cancellation of a dinner for the 200 bishops converging on New Delhi for the papal visit this week and has decided to contribute the money saved as a symbolic gesture to cyclone relief aid in eastern Orissa state.

        Conservative estimates put the death toll at 5,000 from the devastating cyclone that last week ravaged the coastal districts of Orissa on the Bay of Bengal, rendering millions homeless and without water, food, communication links, and electricity. This has forced the relief workers, led by the Indian army, to air drop food packets to marooned people.

        Besides appealing to international church charities to rush aid to boost the Church's relief work, Caritas India along with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Catholic Health Association of India have pooled their resources and launched massive relief work through the social action network of the Balasore and Cuttak-Bubhaneshwar dioceses in the region.

        Father Ivan Joseph, executive director Caritas India, said on Wednesday that Caritas India has already rushed assistance worth 15 million rupees (US$360,000) including blankets, medicines, and food items to the ravaged state. In addition, dozens of doctors from Catholic hospitals have also been dispatched for relief work.

        The Orissa government has even formally asked for Church help to dispose of decaying bodies scattered throughout the cyclone-hit region. Christian institutions in the state have been closed and even seminarians are being pressed into service to dispose of decaying bodies of both humans and animals, Father Joseph said.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

November 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 209
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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