By Courtney Grogan, Catholic New Agency
[Vatican City – CNA] – Pope Francis offered prayers and condolences Monday for the victims of monsoon flooding in southern India that has left more than 150 people dead.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life in the monsoons of recent days in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat … His Holiness Pope Francis sends his heartfelt condolences to the relatives of the deceased and injured,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote in a telegram on the pope’s behalf Aug.12.
According to local government reports, 152 people are confirmed dead and another 17 missing in India after days of heavy rains.
The Vatican Secretary of State said Pope Francis is praying for the relief efforts underway, mindful of all those who have lost homes and livelihood.
More than 400,000 people were displaced by the floods and mudslides, according to the Associated Press. Many have taken refuge in relief camps set up in the Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka.
“Upon the nation he [Pope Francis] willingly invokes the divine blessings of strength and perseverance,” Parolin said.
Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh also experienced heavy rainfall in recent weeks. Landslides in Myanmar killed 53 people and damaged more than 4,000 homes since Aug. 9, according to their government.
The monsoon season in Southeast Asia typically stretches from June until September. Last summer, flooding in India left nearly 400 people dead and 1 million displaced.