AFRICA/MOROCCO - Earth tremor in Morocco: official toll of death and destruction; the Pope sends message of sympathy

Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Rome (Fides Service) - According to official statements at least 600 hundred people were killed, many while still asleep, thousands injured, and hundreds of homes destroyed by a violent earthquake early on Tuesday 24 February in northern Morocco, striking mainly villages around the port city of Al Hoceima.
“It is a tragedy. The situation is most critical in Tanger diocese, in the villages of Ait Kamra, Tamassint and Imzoum where most people live in mud huts”, said Caritas Morocco which immediately set to work to provide assistance. Although only a modest structure, local Caritas supports development with various programmes: assistance for migrant workers and families, disabled people, promotion of women, micro-credit as well as courses in basic education. With regard to the earth tremor, the international Caritas federation network is ready to intervene with relief aid as soon as the Moroccan government authorities give permission
Caritas Italy, Italy is just across the sea from Morocco, has assured prayers for the victims and constant contact and maximum availability to support the work of the local Church in Caritas international network..
On learning of the tragedy, Pope John Paul II immediately sent a telegramme of sympathy to the Nuncio in Morocco, through Cardinal Angelo Sodano Holy See secretary of state, in which he assured his closeness in prayer for the souls of the dead and invoked God’s blessings to comfort the families and the injured and sustain rescue workers. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 25/2/2004 - Righe 17; Parole 233)