Everybody is afraid and there are huge damages to our church buildings
More than twenty thousand people lost their lives in a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southeastern Turkey and Northwestern Syria. Antoine Audo SJ, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Bishop Paolo Bizzetti, Vicar Apostolic of Anatolia and Fater Ibrahim Alsabagh, who had been parish priest in Aleppo for years, reported to Vatican News on the serious disaster situation in Syria.
Charitable organisations arrived in Turkey and Syria after the earthquake to provide aid to those affected by the natural disaster. The Italian Conference of Bishops sent five hundred thousand Euros in assistance.
“We were on the 3rd floor, full of fear. Now, everybody is on the streets in the cold and rain. We are not used to such catastrophes; this was the first in my life in Aleppo” – Bishop Antonie Audo explained in a Vatican News’ Italian-speaking TV- programme.
He also said they did not know where to spend the night after the earthquake.
“The earthquake destroyed libraries, demolished houses, the situation is apocalyptic,”, he says.
He said that many survivors were seeking shelter in their cars.
Paolo Bizzeti said that in Anatolia, hundreds of people lost their lives in the earthquake while thousands died in the epicentre. He added that they immediately contacted Caritas and started the organisation of the rescue expedition.
Ibrahim Alsabagh had been the parish priest at the Saint Francis Church in Aleppo. Now, he is following the news from Nazaret.
“The situation is tough. At least 36 houses collapsed in Aleppo. More than fifty people died, more than 200 were injured, and there are still a lot of people trapped under the ruins”, the priest said on Monday, the 6th of February. That evening, the churches that had not been demolished were filled with people looking for shelter.
“No one wants to go home because they are afraid that other quakes will happen and their houses are not safe enough,” Ibrahim Alsabagh explained.
Source, photo: Vasarnap.hu