.- A speech given by Archbishop Celestino Migliore to the United Nations General assembly was published today regarding relief efforts in the areas devastated by the tsunami of December 26th.
Archbishop Migliore, who is the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, gave the speech on January 18th in New York regarding Item 39, Strengthening the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of the United Nations, Including Special Economic Assistance: Draft Resolution.
The archbishop expressed "deepest condolences to the concerned countries," and noted that "since the very start of the emergency, His Holiness Pope John Paul the Second has expressed his deepest sympathy.”
He has committed the agencies of the Catholic Church to act in a genuine gesture of solidarity to all people without exception in each nation touched by this enormous tragedy."
He added that the Catholic Church's "institutions and the Papal Representatives present in the affected countries went into action immediately. Firstly, they gave out food and clothes as well as sheltering the affected populations.”
Tragically, it has become clear that the most affected group has been young children, of whom at least fifty thousand were swept away, but there are also tens of thousands left orphaned. For this reason we are placing special emphasis upon ways to bring help to surviving children in the zones worst affected."
"In cooperation with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum," Archbishop Migliore stated, "a very long list of Catholic agencies is already using funds from throughout the world, amounting to nearly five hundred million dollars, some of which is going into emergency aid and the rest into longer term projects through our local networks."
He underscored that "the extraordinary impact of the power of nature ... elicited an equally extraordinary response from the peoples and governments of the whole world. ...”
Such a swift and practical expression of global solidarity is surely a sign of the fundamental decency of the peoples of the world."
The Archbishop remarked that "the world's nations should seize this opportunity and the good generated by the world's peoples so as to further important humanitarian goals on the broader agenda at this time.”
“My delegation”, he added, “earnestly hopes, therefore, that this year will be one in which solidarity will be the hallmark of the political agenda."