CCA expresses deep sorrow over series of deadly events in Asia and offers prayers for people affected

Posted on 31 October 2022

CCA expresses deep sorrow over series of deadly events in Asia: by the stampede in South Korea (left), by Typhoon Nalgae in the Philippines (centre), and by bridge collapse in India (right)

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) expresses deep sorrow and grief over the loss of life across the past two days in various parts of Asia, such as in South Korea, the Philippines, and India.

On 29 October, what was to be a night of celebration and revelry for Halloween turned deadly in Seoul’s Itaewon nightlife area, in South Korea, in which at least 154 people died, with 149 people injured. A deadly crush was caused by dense and surging crowds of young people, numbering in the thousands, who were out to celebrate the first Halloween since the start of the pandemic free of limitations on the size of gatherings and the compulsions to wear face masks. Most of the victims were teenagers or in their 20s. News agencies in Seoul, quoting the fire department, reported that around 50 people had cardiac arrest; there were 19 foreigners among those killed in the stampede, most of whom were from Iran, Uzbekistan, China, and Norway.

Over in the Philippines, heavy rains and strong winds pounded the capital, Manila, and surrounding areas, for most of the past two days as tropical storm ‘Nalgae’ forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes and disrupted peak holiday travel in much of the nation. Nalgae has killed at least 45 people as of 30 October, with the brunt of it being faced in Mindanao. 

Tropical storms and the ensuing floods and landslides are quite common in the Philippines during this season, with about 20 such extreme weather events happening each year. However, climate change is intensifying the ferocity of such typhoons. 

In Morbi, in the Indian state of Gujarat, the collapse of a newly renovated pedestrian suspension bridge on 30 October, claimed the lives of at least 132 people, and the death toll  is expected to rise further. 

The 754-foot-long bridge, built under colonial British rule in the 19th century, had recently opened to the public after being shut for renovations. Several people had gathered on the bridge, a popular tourist attraction, for Diwali celebrations, which had caused overcrowding and led to the bridge’s collapse. Many among those in the crowd were children, who were swept away by the strong currents of the underlying Machchu river. 

While expressing deep sympathy to the family and relatives of all those who lost lives during the weekend in different fatal incidents in three Asian countries, the CCA General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara said, “The news of the loss of life received from different parts of Asia these days is shocking and painful and CCA offers prayers for the consolation of all those who mourn.”

The CCA General Secretary urged its member churches and councils, as well as all its ecumenical partners and people of goodwill around the world to join the CCA in praying for the bereaved families who lost their loved ones and to extend support and solidarity in every possible way at the time of such painful situations.

A special prayer was offered by CCA staff at its headquarters for victims in South Korea, India and the Philippines.

 

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