Brazzaville (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of the Republic of Congo have launched a national collection to help the victims of the series of explosions in the barracks of Mpila (see Fides 05/03/2012).
In a message sent to Fides, signed by His Exc. Mgr. Louis Portella Mbuyu, Bishop of Kinkala and President of the Episcopal Conference of Congo, says: "Our Country is experiencing a painful drama due to a series of explosions, and with unprecedented violence, devastated a good portion of the population of Brazzaville: loss of life, serious injuries, destruction of buildings and homes.
Thus, several sisters and brothers are suffering. We cannot remain indifferent, like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Our solidarity is a duty. We launch an urgent and compelling appeal to all members of our Church to organize collections of solidarity in parishes, in movements and also at an individual level. The fruits of the collections will be remitted to the tre asurer’s office of each diocese to be relayed through the Episcopal Conference to the competent authorities that manage the crisis. Let us act quickly".
A provisional estimate of the disaster amounts to about 200 victims, more than 1,300 have been injured and 5,000 are homeless. Demining operations in the area of the barracks of Mpila which were to start today, March 7, have been postponed for security reasons. Rescue teams have not been able to access the area, where a curfew was imposed. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 07/03/2012)