Vatican City (Fides Service) - Mgr. Ignaci Siluvai, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in India, sent the following report to Fides a few hours ago.
“ Dear Director!
While greeting you for Christmas, I have to give this sad news of the sea earthquake which triggered Tsunami from Sumatra Island affected in Indonesia, Thailand, Malasia,India, Sri Lanka. Mostly affected Region in India is Tamil Nadu ( Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese, Pondicherry Cuddalore Archdiocese, Tanjore, Sivagangai, Tuticorin and Kottar. The Apostolic administrator of Tuticorin, The Most Rev. Peter Fernando visited the affected villages of Tuticorin Diocese and reported that all the coastal villages in his diocese are with entire catholic population- death casualties amount to 50 to 60 persons where as in Kottar diocese it is estimated that more than 1500 persons were washed away by the waves.In Vailankanni, pilgrim centre in India more than 1000 people have died, those who went to the Marian Shrine to celebrate Christmas. People are left homeless and have lost all their properties, boats, nets which are necessary for their daily livelihood. The Church leaders come forward to rescue them and to give them hope. They have lost everything but they should not lose hope. One must do the relief work and implement some action plan which raises some hope in the people. The International organisations should come forward to bring the people to normalcy- first providing them the boats and other utensils to resume their work of fishing and offer housing schemes in cases where people have lost their homes.
. As National Director of PMS, India, I am writing this news to you. Caritas India has come forward to help for the immediate relief work, it is reported. Requesting your coverage in the media and trusting in the Lord, Mgr. Ignaci Siluvai National Diretor, PMS, India.” (R.G.) (Agenzia Fides 28/12/2004 - Righe 21; Parole 299)