Pope Francis expressed his “heartfelt sorrow” after a powerful earthquake killed at least 120 people and left a trail of destruction across central Italy. Hundreds of people were injured and dozens of others missing in several small towns after the magnitude-6.2 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. local time (Aug. 24). The quake’s epicenter was about 90 miles northeast of Rome, but the shock waves were felt from the southern city of Naples to the northern town of Rimini on the Adriatic Coast. A powerful aftershock of 5.4 magnitude followed an hour later.
A 6.8 earthquake struck Myanmar on Aug. 24, reports the Wall Street Journal, the same day a deadly earthquake struck Italy. At least three people have died.
Rescue efforts are underway to help people trapped or injured by the earthquake, which hit towns across central Italy, nearly 100 miles north of Rome and Vatican City. The quake is the deadliest for the country since a 2009 quake that hit L’Aquila and killed more than 300, also in central Italy. Rescuers are continuing to search for survivors.
Pope Francis, who was scheduled to give a speech to his general audience Wednesday, instead prayed with and for the people of Italy, reports Reuters.
Emergency teams from U.S. faith-based humanitarian relief agencies are on the ground in northwest Ecuador after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took the lives of at least 413 people. The April 16 quake destroyed more than 300 buildings, buckling overpasses and trapping drivers. More than 2,500 people were injured.
Lokesh Todi, born and raised in Kathmandu, moved home to Nepal nine months ago to be an entrepreneur. When the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit last Saturday, he and a cousin started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help connect concerned givers with local NGOs.
“We thought we could get some supplies to local groups. Our goal was to get $20,000 — that’s a lot of money in Nepal," said Todi, a recent graduate of Yale University's M.B.A program.
Thanks to their concerned networks, including thousands of shares from Todi’s Facebook page, the campaign has now raised $120,150 — more than six times the amount they expected.
“I’m really hoping to make sure that all this money goes to right channels, and make sure that every dollar is spent properly and wisely. My goal is to help the community build back stronger and a little bit more prepared,” said Todi.
About 80 percent of Nepalese are Hindu, making Nepal the second-largest Hindu nation outside of India, with about 2 percent of the global total. Most Hindus believe in a kind of fatalism, and many here seemed unrattled by the quake as a test of faith, even as their temples and shrines were flattened.
“God had predestined it. He knew about it,” said Suresh Shrestha, a Hindu and a hotel owner. His house was partially damaged and he is living in a tent on the Tundikhel ground in Kathmandu.
Akriti Mahajan, a young girl who was standing outside her family’s tent nearby, suspects that man-made climate change had something to do with it.
“Humans are behind it,” she said. “If God had a role, this wouldn’t have happened.”
This past week I had an opportunity to teach an intensive course on the book of Matthew. I enjoy these opportunities, not only to teach, but to look at and present a book from start to finish. Although it is not possible to delve into every detail found within the book, following the plot line from start to finish helps to pick up on themes and recurring events and/or elements that accentuate and highlight certain points throughout the broader story. It is easy to miss such connections when snippets and bits and pieces are read rather than reading the whole story from beginning to end.
One such theme is how unsettling — literally — the person of Jesus was. Throughout Matthew’s gospel we hear how Jesus shook the foundations of society.
Three years after the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, the impoverished island nation is still struggling to rebuild. The ruins include Notre Dame de l’Assomption, Port-au-Prince’s renowned cathedral.
Hope abounds, however, as the capital city seeks to reconstruct this sacred place of worship. Edwidge Danticat’s “House of Prayer and Dreams,” in the April 2013 issue of Sojourners magazine, beautifully illustrates why the cathedral is central to the city’s past, present, and future.
An earthquake of 7.9 magnitude struck off the Philippines on Friday and a tsunami warning has been issued for the region, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The quake was centered off the east coast, 91 miles off the town of Guiuan in Samar province at a depth of about 20 miles, USGS said.
The tsunami warning was issued for the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and other islands in the Pacific including the U.S. state of Hawaii.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The quake struck just before 8:50 p.m. local time, the agency said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It took 83 years to build the iconic Washington National Cathedral, but a rare East Coast earthquake last summer took just seconds to send carved stone finials tumbling from the heavens to the ground below.
Now, six months after the 5.8-magnitude quake, the cathedral is facing repair costs of at least $20 million, and a reconstruction timeline that could stretch out a decade or more.
The bill to fix the iconic church is now at least $5 million more than original estimates, said church officials, who are still working to stabilize the building, repair its intricate stonework and raise money to continue the restoration.
So far, donations for repairs have reached $2 million, or 10 percent of the predicted cost.
How does one dig out from under such tragedy? How does one have hope for a better life, for a new Haiti?
In a meditation titled "The Gates of Hope," Minister Victoria Safford writes:
"Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope -- not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness ... nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of 'Everything is gonna be all right,' but a very different, sometimes very lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see."
Indeed, we need to plant ourselves at the gates of hope and work toward a just peace, on Earth as it is in heaven.
It was over in less than a minute. Three miles below the surface of the earth near a town in Virginia called Mineral, a fault line shifted. As a result, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake was felt from Georgia to New England and as far west as Detroit. The National Cathedral lost several stone spires, the Washington Monument cracked, and Sojourners' office was closed for the afternoon, as our building was checked for structural damage.
Tectonic plates move beneath our feet in the part of the globe that scientists refer to as the lithosphere. Over the course of a year, an average plate will move as little as 3 to 6 centimeters. The speed of their movement is 10,000 times slower than the hour hand on a clock and even slower than the rate of growth of human hair. For decades, sometimes centuries or millennia, a plate's movement might go almost entirely unnoticed. Then, in less than a minute, the world shakes and everything changes.