Pope Francis has extended his condolences to the people of Japan in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that struck the Ishikawa prefecture, claiming the lives of at least 48 individuals.
The Pope expressed his deep sadness and offered prayers for those affected, as detailed in a telegram sent on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Tuesday, according to Vatican News.
“The Pope was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake in the Ishikawa prefecture,” Cardinal Parolin conveyed on behalf of Pope Francis.
The earthquake, which occurred on Monday with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, prompted evacuation warnings along the west coast of central Japan.
The seismic event destroyed buildings, power outages in thousands of homes, and disruptions to regional travel.
Waves of approximately one meter were reported along parts of the Sea of Japan coast, with authorities cautioning that larger waves could follow.
In the telegram, Pope Francis conveyed his profound sympathy and solidarity with those suffering from the consequences of the disaster.
He specifically addressed the families who lost loved ones, expressing his heartfelt prayers for the deceased, those mourning their loss, and for the successful rescue of any individuals still missing.
“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,” the telegram emphasized.
The Pope also offered words of encouragement to civil authorities and emergency personnel involved in assisting the victims, acknowledging their vital role in responding to the tragedy.
He concluded his message by invoking divine blessings of consolation and strength upon all those affected by the earthquake.
In response to the catastrophe, Archbishop Tarcisio Kikuchi of Tokyo issued a statement on behalf of the Church, assuring the faithful of their prayers for the victims.
He also announced that a team from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Japan is currently assessing the damage before the Church determines its comprehensive response to the disaster.
“The Church is in solidarity with the victims, and our prayers are with those who are suffering,” said Archbishop Kikuchi.