Pope Francis Offers Prayers for Disaster Victims

Another Migrant Boat Tragedy in the Mediterranean

Pope Francis Offers Prayers
© Vatican Media

As he so often does, Pope Francis took time Sunday to offer prayers for disaster victims. His remarks came after praying the Regina Caeli with the faithful gather in St. Peter’s Square.

“I express my nearness to the people living on the Islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines where the volcanic eruption is causing harm and difficulties. I assure you of my prayers,” Pope Francis said. “I bless all those who are participating in relief efforts and assistance.”

Earlier this week, the Holy Father expressed his closeness to the victims of the eruption in a telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

More than 12,700 evacuees are now registered in public shelters and in private homes, close to 20,000 people are expected to be displaced, according to the United Nations, which has issued an appeal for relief funds.

“I am also near to the victims of the fire in the hospital for Covid patients in Baghdad,” the Pope said. “As of now, there are 82 people who have died. Let us pray for all of them.”

At least 82 people have been killed in a fire at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad, according to the BBC.  More than 100 others were injured in the blaze, which erupted at the Ibn Khatib hospital on Saturday night. Reports say an accident had caused an oxygen tank to explode, sparking the blaze, the British service said.

Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of another migrant boat tragedy in the Mediterranean. This event occurred on Friday, April 23.

“I confess I am extremely sad over the tragedy that has once again taken place in the Mediterranean. One hundred thirty migrants died in the sea,” Francis said. “They are people. They are human beings who begged for help in vain for two whole days – help that never arrived.

“Brothers and sisters, let us all ask ourselves about this umpteenth tragedy. It is a shameful moment. Let us pray for these brothers and sisters, and for all those who continue to die in these tragic crossings. Let us also pray for those who can help but prefer to look the other way. Let us pray in silence for them…”