BY ISN STAFF | March 25, 2019
“Disasters such as [Cyclone Idai] need not awaken only our sympathy towards humanity, but also our sympathy towards our planet, to God’s creation itself,” said Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, in a statement addressing the devastating impact of Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.
In the statement, Fr. Orobator not only called attention to the significant humanitarian efforts being supported by the Jesuits and larger Catholic Church but also explicitly described the interrelationship between climate change and the growing intensity of major weather events. He noted that the economically poor bear the brunt of these weather events and called for an “ecological conversion,” citing the call of Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, to respond to the realities of climate change.
Tropical Cyclone Idai is regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere and caused catastrophic damage. The death toll is estimated to be upwards of 1,000 people, there are hundreds more missing, and injuries total in the thousands. Experts have described its destruction as some of the worst ever seen in the region.
The full statement from Fr. Orobator which was published on the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar on March 25, 2019 can be found below.