.- After Tropical Storm Javier and Hurricane Earl ravaged parts of Mexico over the weekend, Pope Francis offered his prayers and closeness to all those affected by the storms.
“In the face of the grave damage caused by the hurricane which affected several areas of the country – causing numerous victims and extensive material damage – the Holy Father expresses his affection for the beloved Mexican people,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in a telegram dated Aug. 8.
The Pope, he said, offers his prayers “for those who lost their lives and (desires) to show his closeness to their families and the victims.”
Multiple mudslides caused by heavy rains killed at least 40 people in the mountainous north of Mexico’s Puebla state over the weekend. An additional 13 people were killed by mudslides in the neighboring Veracruz state, according to the AP.
In the telegram, addressed to the Mexican bishops’ conference, Pope Francis imparted his Apostolic Blessing to the victims of the storms and asked “the Lord to sustain the will of the authorities and people of Mexico and to awaken in all a spirit of solidarity.”
Storm shelters have been set up in the affected areas, mostly at local schools, by authorities in Cabo San Lucas and families living in low-lying areas near streams were evacuated, the AP reports.
The township of Huauchinango alone had 25 victims, the AP said. Their mayor Gabriel Alvarado said that “it’s a tragedy what has happened to our people.”
According to the BBC, dogs have been brought into Puebla to search for those who are still missing. More than 10,000 people have been affected and 18 villages remain cut off in the eastern state, the agency reports.