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Fires in Portugal: Msgr. Moiteiro Ramos (bishop of Aveiro), “Tragedy striking the country. Change attitude to nature”

“Silence is the language of the tragedy hitting our country. We ask God to give strength to all the people hit by fire”, wrote the bishop of Aveiro, Msgr. António Moiteiro Ramos, after last Saturday’s fire in Pedrógão Grande, causing a death toll of over 60 people, tenths of injured and refugees, as well as remarkable material damage. National mourning was declared from yesterday until tomorrow in Portugal. “The tragedy hit Pedrogão Grande and adjacent areas”; it “changed reality and spread panic. There are dead people to mourn and injured to cure. Things were reduced to ash, and houses turned to ruins”, wrote the Diocesan Commission for Culture of Aveiro in a message. “An unquestionable remark springs to mind: Mother Nature makes itself heard, telling us it is ill-treated, and that its power may become uncontrollable”. These phenomena will go on increasing “if human beings don’t change their attitudes and their habits”, it is said in the text. The Portuguese bishops had already faced this theme in a pastoral Note last 27 April, entitled “Taking care of one’s common house”, dedicated to fires in Portugal, which “have become a huge plague no-one is able to control”, wrote the bishops, asking for “coordinated mobilisation”. The diocese of Aveiro also expressed his gratitude to the “volunteers helping the people hit by fires, to the ones on the front line risking their lives, and the State, coordinating efforts and available resources with diligence”.

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