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Pope Francis sends condolences to Japan after deadly earthquake

Smoke rises from the site of a fire occurred following an earthquake in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. (Photo Credit: AP) and Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to the people of Japan after a deadly earthquake on Monday, the evening of New Year’s Day, hit its central part and killed at least 48 people.

In a telegram sent through the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, he expressed solidarity on Tuesday with those suffering and those who have lost loved ones, stating that he was "deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake in the Ishikawa prefecture."

The quake resulted in warnings for residents to leave and evacuate some areas on its west coast, as it quashed buildings, left thousands of homes without power supply, disrupted trips to the region, and other activities.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 and triggered waves of around one meter along parts of the Sea of Japan coast.  Authorities warned that larger waves could follow, putting residents on their feet.

The Holy Father expressed his support in different forms to all those affected by the disaster.  Special prayers go for the dead and those left behind in sorrow, as well as for the rescue of those who continue to be missing. 

He offered encouragement to the civil authorities emergency responders and staff in their role in the disaster and invoked for all the divine blessings of consolation, relief and strength.

Not long after, Archbishop Tarcisio Kikuchi of Tokyo released a statement that assured the Church's prayers for those affected. 

He announced that a team from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Japan's Emergency Response Support Team (ERST), together with Caritas Japan, of which Bishop Narui of Niigata is in charge, is assessing the damage with the Bishop of Nagoya and will be discussing the possible response of the Church.   

“The area facing the Japan Sea, or Hokuriku Area of Nagoya Diocese, especially the Wajima area, was hit by a strong earthquake in the evening on January 1, 2024. The quake also affected parts of Niigata Diocese,” he said.

According to Bishop Narui of Niigata, there is no report of damage to Church facilities in Niigata. “We still do not know about these in Nagoya Diocese. The Catholic Church will do its best to be with the people affected and continue our support,” he said as of this writing.  


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