The Church’s own Caritas is already on the ground

Pope Francis sent 100,000 euros (amounting to about $113,000) after 23 of Iran’s 31 provinces were ravaged by flash floods. The sudden massive amount of water caused significant infrastructural damage. There was consequent suffering not only in the villages and rural areas but also in cities. The money was dispatched through the Promotion of Integral Human Development, an office of the Vatican. In a press release dated April 12, the Holy See said the money is given as an expression of the spiritual closeness on the part of the Holy Father when it came to the flood-affected territories and its people. The funds will be distributed via local nunciature. It will be spent on humanitarian assistance and associated relief work.

A significant land area of Iran suffered flash floods during March. The last two weeks of the month were particularly brutal, with three torrential rainfalls battering the country which previously was suffering from acute drought. These rainfalls resulted in the floods. A total of 77 cases of death were reported, and about 1,070 people were injured. The province of Golestan was one of the worst hit with 70 percent of its yearly rainfall dropping from the skies within a single day. The Iranian Government has evacuated 200,000 people from their homes. The total bill of damage is estimated to be any amount from a minimum of one billion and may even cross $3.6 billion.

The press release sent out by the Vatican said the Holy See had taken cognizance of the work being done, as coordinated by the Tehran office of the United Nations and the Iranian Red Crescent Society. Caritas Iran has also joined the effort and is doing its best to bring needed supplies and assistance to the flood-affected people. Pope Francis sent his condolences to Iran via Pietro Parolin, the Cardinal who holds the Secretary of State position, saying he was deeply saddened when he learned about Iran’s devastation. The statement read that the pope commends the soul of those who died to heaven and invokes strength and consolation to those in pain. Pope Francis also prayed for the emergency personnel and all other people who have participated in relief efforts, along with ordinary Iranians so that God takes care of them. The Caritas has already visited the flood-affected regions and is coordinating with other relief agencies.

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