Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - Catholics in one of the poorest countries in the world want to help victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. In the past, the people of Bangladesh have themselves repeatedly been hit by the severe effects of typhoons, floods and natural disasters and have been recipients of international solidarity. Therefore, after hearing about the immense devastation caused by the earthquake in the Middle East, the country's Catholic communities wanted to "return the aid received" and make their own small contribution. At the Mass on Sunday 12 February, an appeal for donations was launched in all the parishes and dioceses of the country, and numerous communities prayed for the victims and their families, who entrusted the wounded to the Lord and organized an extraordinary collection to be sent to the Churches in the affected countries.
Father Subrato B. Gomes, parish priest of the parish of the Holy Rosary in the Tejgaon area of Dhaka - with around 15,000 souls the largest Catholic community in the country - invited the faithful and families to pray the rosary every evening for the victims of the earthquake: "Brothers and sisters in Turkey and in Syria," he said, "are suffering immensely. Let us remember them in our prayers and entrust them to the loving hands of the Virgin Mary so that they may find consolation and overcome this terrible situation". One of the faithful of the same parish, Subir Corraya, expressed solidarity and closeness with the people in Turkey and Syria, stressing: "With my family we prayed for the victims. Although the two countries are far from each other, in spiritual communion feel their pain and suffering. Almighty God bless them and give them the strength to endure this situation and slowly recover".
Meanwhile, Nirmol Rozario, President of the 'Bangladesh Christian Association', reports on the commitment of the Christian association both on a spiritual level (with a prayer vigil and a special prayer request for the earthquake victims) and in the context of appeals for donations.
A fundraising campaign was also launched at the "Uttorbanga Christian Bohumukhi Samabay Samity", a small financial institution in Bangladesh run by the Christian Tarcisius Palma: "With all the employees and people of good will who belong to different religions, we prayed and stayed in silence for a few minutes, lighting candles and remembering the thousands of people who lost their lives as a result of the earthquake. We will not fail to help in every little way".
The Bangladesh government has also sent a team of 51 people, including soldiers, firefighters and civil defence, to help with the relief efforts. The Bangladeshi delegation is providing 12,000 tents, 10,000 blankets and tons of food aid to the people of Turkey and Syria. (PA/FC) (Agenzia Fides, 15/2/2023)