.- After Wednesday's general audience, the Holy Father prayed for the victims of the recent natural disasters in different regions in Asia.
He said that his thoughts go out to those "populations stricken by grave natural catastrophes, which have caused loss of human life, injuries and damages, leaving numerous people homeless."
"In a particular way," he specified, "I'm thinking of the vast fires in the Russian Federation and of the devastating floods in Pakistan and in Afghanistan."
Pope Benedict XVI said he is praying for the victims and is "spiritually close to all who are tested by such adversity."
Reuters reported early Wednesday morning that widespread forest fires in Russia have killed 48 people and destroyed at least 2,000 homes. The government has declared a state of emergency in the seven Russian provinces where the damage has been extensive.
The U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP) reported on Tuesday that Pakistan is dealing with the worst flooding in more than 80 years and that the organization is assessing the food needs of what they estimate at more than two million people affected by the floods. WFP warehouses containing food stockpiles previously in place for distribution have also been inundated.
In Afghanistan, as many as 50,000 people have been affected by the rains, according to the WFP's most recent report.
For all the victims, the Pope asked God "for relief in the suffering and support in the difficulty." He also also implored the "solidarity" of all people for those being impacted.