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Pope offers condolences and prayers for victims of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

Rescue workers and volunteers in the rubble of a collapsed building in Diyarbakir in south-east Turkey (Photo credit Vatican News)

Pope Francis offered his condolence to the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria on Monday.

Pope Francis said, “I am deeply saddened to learn of the huge loss of life caused by a powerful earthquake that has struck south-eastern Turkey and northwestern Syria.”

The earthquake was about 20 miles from Gaziantep near the Turkey-Syria border at 04:17 local time with a 7.8 magnitude.

The second 7.5 magnitude earthquake worsened the situation which struck south-eastern Turkey on Monday lunchtime.

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, signed on behalf of Pope Francis the two separate telegrams to the apostolic nuncios, Marek Solczynski in Turkey and Mario Zenari in Syria offering his spiritual closeness and words of condolence to all the earthquake victims.

The Pope commended “those who died to the loving mercy of the Almighty” and expressed his “heartfelt condolences to those who mourn their loss.”

He prayed, "the emergency personnel will be sustained in their care of the injured and in the ongoing relief efforts by the divine gifts of fortitude and perseverance.”

The Pope also expressed a “renewed sign of his spiritual solidarity” for the “long-suffering Syrian people.”

The disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) reported that as of February 6, 1,121 people have died, and 2,834 buildings had been demolished due to a strong earthquake that struck southern Turkey on Monday.

According to CNN, who cited the Syrian State news agency SANA, at least 711 people have perished in government-controlled territories, mainly in Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Tartus.

Quoting the report of the “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, CNN reported 740 were killed due to the earthquake in regions under opposition control where northwestern Syria at Turkey’s border. - With inputs from Vatican News


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