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Brazzaville residents, refugees mobilize to recover after devastating explosions

Catholic World News - March 06, 2012

"We are trying to slowly return to normality,” reported Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski, the apostolic nuncio in the Republic of Congo, after a devastating explosion in an ammunition depot in Brazzaville.

Hundreds of people were killed by the explosion in the center of the city, and at least 3,000 people are now homeless, the archbishop reported. Some are refugees from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, who had fled in fear of fighting in their own country and have now been left without shelter once again.

Archbishop Pawlowski voiced his admiration for the people of Brazzaville who are working valiantly to restore order and provide help for those affected by the blasts. He also praised relief agencies for their quick action. “All are mobilized within the limits of their ability to meet the immediate needs of these people,” he said.

Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of condolence of Archbishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu, president of the bishops’ conference of Congo, offering his sympathies after the “tragic catastrophe” and promising his prayers for the deceased and for “consolation and hope” for the survivors.

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