At least 48 people killed in strong earthquake in central Japan  (ANSA)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Jan 3 2024

Pope Francis sends his condolences to the people of Japan, offering his consolation and prayers in the wake of a powerful earthquake that killed at least 48 people.

Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to those suffering and who have lost loved ones in a deadly earthquake in central Japan that has claimed at least 48 lives.

According to a telegram sent on the Pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Tuesday, the Pope was “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake in the Ishikawa prefecture.”

A powerful earthquake struck central Japan on Monday, triggering warnings for residents to evacuate some areas on its west coast, destroying buildings, knocking out power to thousands of homes, and disrupting travel to the region.

Closeness after deadly earthquake

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, triggered waves of around 1 metre along parts of the Sea of Japan coast, with authorities saying larger waves could follow.

The Pope assured everyone affected by this disaster of his heartfelt solidarity, spiritual closeness, and prayers, especially for the dead, those who mourn their loss, and for the rescue of any persons still missing. 

Pope Francis concluded by offering encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this tragedy, and willingly invoked upon all the divine blessings of consolation and strength.

Following the tragedy, Archbishop Tarcisio Kikuchi of Tokyo issued a statement, reassuring the Church’s prayers for the victims, and announcing that a team from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Japan is assessing the damage before the Church decides its response. – Vatican News