Following the earthquake which hit Southern Turkey and Northern Syria on 6 February, representatives of the Catholic Church from across Europe, who had gathered in Prague this week as part of the Continental Assembly of a Synod within the Church, expressed their closeness to the victims and survivors who have been heavily stricken by this catastrophic event.
The 200 delegates, fourteen of whom are from Ireland including Archbishop Eamon Martin, said, “the death toll is still on the rise and the destruction, and the suffering of the population have profoundly affected and touched our souls. It is a deep wound, which in Syria is added to the war that has been raging on the territory for 12 years.
“We are close to the community of the Vicariate of Iskenderun, which saw its cathedral destroyed, fortunately without paying the price in human lives. Next, our thoughts go to the Vicariate of Anatolia, which is experiencing a problematic situation. Finally, Aleppo, a city that was martyred in the war in Syria and is now experiencing another martyrdom.
“Above all, our thoughts and gratitude go to those currently bringing relief efforts, in challenging conditions, worsened by winter temperature. Our Caritas is committed to dealing with the emergency, treating the wounded, consoling those who have lost family members, and finding a shelter for those who no longer have it. The local Churches are already providing all kinds of help and welcome, and they are a shining example to which we look with admiration.
“With great sympathy, the Churches in Europe are close to the populations afflicted by the earthquake, renewing our prayers and assisting in every possible way to deal with the emergency.”
The official death toll to date from the earthquake amounts to about 10,000 lost lives.