Libya Floods Kill Thousands, 10,000 Missing, Pope Francis Expresses “spiritual closeness”

Pope Francis gives the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square on Oct. 2, 2013. | Elise Harris/CNA.

Pope Francis has expressed his “spiritual closeness” to those affected by the Tuesday, September 12 deadly floods that, according to media reports, have resulted in the death of at least 2,000 people, with up to 10,000 reported missing in the North African country’s city of Derna.

In his Tuesday, September 12 telegram message addressed to the victims of the floods in Libya on behalf of the Holy Father, the Vatican Secretary of State shares the reaction of Pope Francis.

Pietro Cardinal Parolin says that Pope Francis “was deeply saddened to learn of the immense loss of life and destruction caused by the flooding in the eastern part of Libya, and he sends the assurance of his prayers for the souls of the deceased and all who mourn their loss.”

“His holiness also expresses heartfelt spiritual closeness to the injured, to those who fear for their missing loved ones, and to the emergency personnel providing rescue and relief assistance,” Cardinal Parolin adds.

The Vatican Secretary of State continues, “Upon all affected by this tragedy, Pope Francis willingly invokes the divine blessings of consolation, strength and perseverance.”


According to a Reuters report, the disaster came after dams above Derna collapsed, “sweeping whole neighborhoods with their residents into the sea.”

A BBC News report indicates that “much of Derna, which is home to about 100,000 people, is under water after two dams and four bridges collapsed.”

Up to 10,000 people are recorded to be missing after the flooding as a result of Storm Daniel, the Red Crescent has been quoted as saying in the September 12 BBC News report.

The storm, which hit on September 10 has also affected the Eastern cities of Benghazi, Soussa, and Al-Marj.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.