The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expresses its profound grief and sorrow at the terrible and unimaginable havoc wrecked by the severe dust storm that has ravaged parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The Catholic Church condoles the death of the people who were caught unaware as nature’s fury took hold of large parts of North India. CBCI also expressed solidarity with the injured and the suffering.

CBCI remarked that “The Catholic Church is already out in the field through her Wing of Mercy and Charity, Caritas India. While trying to help people without discrimination of faith, or class, wherever it is possible for us to reach out, Caritas India, for more precise operations, is specially concentrating on the districts of Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Jayour in Rajasthan.  We appreciate the efforts being put in by the Government and its agencies to provide immediate help and relief to the affected and extend our hand of partnership to the Government. Even as people are trying to build up their lives, we are concerned about the health situation in the areas affected.” Further, they added, “This is also an occasion for all of us to think and reflect seriously on the issue of climate change, as indicated by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si and which is more and more manifesting itself through natural Disasters.”

It is reported that more than 150 people have lost their lives and hundreds others are injured and thousands left without shelter. The damage has been the worst seen in 20 years, according to officials with India’s Meteorological Department.They have also issued warnings that more bad weather is to come, with severe thunderstorms expected in several places in northern India over the next few days. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference expressed its ardent desire to work with the Government and all like-minded agencies to provide relief and help in all possible ways to the suffering people.  The Catholic Church invited men and women of good will everywhere to join it and others in providing succour and assistance wherever needed.