Pope prays for victims of earthquake in Croatia

  • Written by Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
  • Published in International
Farmer Tomislav Suknaic touches his horse in front of his destroyed home in the village of Majske Poljane, Croatia, on December 30 following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake the previous day. Pope Francis offered condolences and prayers for the victims of the quake in central Croatia that killed at least seven people and injured dozens. Photo: CNS/Antonio Bronic, Reuters Farmer Tomislav Suknaic touches his horse in front of his destroyed home in the village of Majske Poljane, Croatia, on December 30 following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake the previous day. Pope Francis offered condolences and prayers for the victims of the quake in central Croatia that killed at least seven people and injured dozens. Photo: CNS/Antonio Bronic, Reuters

Pope Francis offered condolences and prayers for the victims of an earthquake that rocked central Croatia.

“I express my closeness to the injured and to those affected by the earthquake, and I pray in particular for those who have lost their lives and for their families,” the pope said December 30 before concluding his weekly general audience.

According to the Reuters news agency, the magnitude 6.4 quake struck December 29 and caused widespread damage. It destroyed at least two villages about 30 miles from Zagreb, the Croatian capital.

As of December 30, seven people were known to have died; dozens were injured and many more people remained missing.

The powerful quake, which was felt as far as Austria, was the second to strike the country in two days. A magnitude 5.2 earthquake hit central Croatia December 28.

In a video message posted on YouTube, Cardinal Josip Bozanic of Zagreb appealed for solidarity with the victims.

“In this trial, God will show a new hope that becomes especially evident in difficult times,” Cardinal Bozanic said. “My call is for solidarity, especially with the families, children, youth, the elderly and the sick.”

According to SIR, the news agency of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Bozanic allocated emergency aid to those affected by the natural disaster. Caritas Zagreb will also provide assistance, especially in Sisak and Petrinja, the hardest-hit towns.

“Many people have been left homeless, we must deal with this now,” the cardinal said.