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Oceania bishops express deep sadness at the loss of life and the destruction 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)

The Oceania bishops gathered at Fiji for their quadrennial assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania from February 5 to 10, expressed their solidarity with the earthquake victims of Turkey and Syria, in a message published on February 10.

“We know that God is close to those that suffer. We pray that your people sense the love and care of their brothers and sisters around the world, including from Oceania,” the message read.

With the support of the presidents of the four episcopal conferences: Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands/Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific, the president of the Oceanian Federation Suva Archbishop Peter Loy Chong signed the message of condolence.

They expressed deep sadness at the loss of life and the destruction caused by the tragic earthquake that struck in Turkey and Syria on Monday.

“One of the key themes of our Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania gathering this week is the connectedness of human suffering and the suffering of our world. We have seen in your countries how natural disasters can wreak such pain and anguish, with thousands of lives lost,” the bishops stated.

Media reports suggest death toll over 33,000 as of February 12 due to the Turkey-Syrian earthquake.

The Oceania bishops affirmed that they will encourage the faithful in their region to respond generously as the Catholic Church established fund-raising to support for the ongoing rescue and recovery.

“Be assured of our ongoing prayers and our attention as your people recover from this tragedy,” the Oceania bishops said. - With inputs from the Australian Bishops' Conference Media Blog


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