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Pope expresses 'great sadness' at Indian earthquake
    Pope John Paul II spoke Saturday of his "great sadness" for the victims of the earthquake in Gujarat, which is thought to have killed at least 10,000.
    "Having learned with great sadness of the tragic eathquake which struck northwestern India, his holiness Pope John Paul II has asked me to express to all concerned the assurance of his closeness in prayer," said a statement from top Vatican official Cardinal Angelo Sodano addressed to the Indian government.
    India's worst quake for 50 years struck at 1:16 pm AEDT on Friday. Some reports have put the death toll as high as 15,000.
    Meanwhile Caritas Internationalis has launched an emergency appeal to help Caritas India provide aid to earthquake victims.
    From its headquarters in Vatican City, Caritas Internationalis has appealed to its network for $A1.84 to help Caritas India meet the immediate needs of those affected.
   
AFP/Fides
   
29-Jan-01

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