“Blessings of strength, peace”: Pope Francis to Rwandans after Deadly Floods

Reference image of Pope Francis at a general audience. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis has expressed his “spiritual closeness” to the people of God in Rwanda following the torrential rains that swept through the Northern, Western, and Southern Provinces of the country during the night of May 2-3, resulting in deadly floods.

In his telegram of condolences addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio in Rwanda, Archbishop Arnaldo Sanchez Catalan, the Holy Father invokes his “blessings of strength and peace” upon all those affected by the floods and landslides.

Pope Francis “has received with deep sadness the news of the loss of human life and destruction caused by the recent floods in the western and northern provinces of Rwanda," the telegram that was signed by the Secretary of State, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, reads in part.

The floods and landslides reportedly resulted in the death of dozens, Rwanda’s New Times newspaper having reported a revised death toll of 131 people on May 6, “as the search for the missing person continues”.

“This could be the highest disaster-induced death toll to be recorded in the country in the shortest period according to available records from recent years,” the government-backed New Times newspaper reported on May 3, when the death toll was “at least 109 people”.


The revised number of injured persons was at 94 on May 6, with 54 of these having been discharged, and six of the injured “transferred to other medical facilities”.

“The number of destroyed houses has risen to 5,598 from the previous count of 5,147,” according to Rwanda’s New Times of May 6, which makes reference to statistics from the country’s Emergency Management Ministry (MINEMA).

The most affected districts have included Rubavu, Ngororero, Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Karongi, Gakenke, Burera, Musanze, and Nyamagabe, according to reports.

In his telegram, Pope Francis expresses "spiritual closeness to all those who are suffering as a result of this disaster".

He offers the assurance of his prayers "for the deceased, wounded and displaced, as well as for those involved in recovery efforts."

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Cardinal Parolin adds, "As a sign of spiritual closeness, the Holy Father willingly invokes upon all the people of Rwanda the blessings of strength and peace of Almighty God."

First published by ACI Prensa, ACI Africa’s sister news service in Spanish, the story has been revised to include the latest statistics of the floods and landslides in Rwanda. 

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