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Lebanon explosion: Pope speaks on “grave danger” ahead



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Following explosion that rocked Beirut capital of Lebanon last month, Pope Francis has raised the alarm that there would be grave danger threatening
existence of the country, if nothing was done immediately.

The blast which occured in Beirut harbour last month reportedly claimed 180 lives with about 6,500 wounded persons.

Speaking to a limited number of people due to social distancing observation, Pope admonished that Lebanon should not be abandoned to their calamitous fate by the rest of the world.

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According to the local media, the collateral damage ocassioned by the blast was estimated to about US$50 billion.

“A month after the tragedy… my thoughts are still with dear Lebanon and its particularly hard-pressed population,” Francis said, holding a Lebanese flag brought to the audience by a young priest.

“Faced with the repeated tragedies that each of the inhabitants of this land knows, we realise the extreme danger that threatens the very existence of this country,” he said.

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The pontiff held his first audience in a closed courtyard of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, with a maximum of 500 faithful.

Jorge Bergoglio – the birth name of Francis – last hosted an audience on February 26, as the grip of Covid-19 closed around Italy.

Then the Argentinian pope, who is fond of direct contact, shook hands with dozens of faithful and hugged a few children massed in the front row of the audience of some 12,000 people.

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But there were no hugs on Wednesday, with Francis simply exchanging a few words with those present, all wearing face masks.

So far, the coronavirus has killed more than 35,000 people in Italy since it was first detected, according to the latest official statistics.

With AFP report


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