to flood victims
BLANKETS FOR ITALIAN HOMELESS BLANKETS FOR ITALIAN HOMELESS
IN contrast to the disastrous floods whicla roared down Italy's
Po Valley, uprooting thousands of people front their homes, drowning untold hundreds, and causing widespread havoc and damage to property, the Inundated roads and farmlands of Southern England presented a relatively peaceful picture last weekend.
British troops rushed from Trieste were among he rescue workers at Rovigo and Adria, manning boats of every size and shape, and saving many helpless victims caught in the path
of the seething floodwaters.
In a special broadcast from Castel Gandolfo last Sunday, the Holy Father assured the victims of his special prayers and of all possible material aid.
"The sorrow which this terrifying disaster causes me," said the Pope, " together with the great loss of life, prompts me to appeal to all the faithful to contribute generously to help the victims of this cataclysm."
The Pope has instructed the Pontifical Relief Organisation to divert needed supplies to the flood-ravaged Po Valley region: and the Organisation's director, Mgr. Baldelli. is now in Royigo supervising the distribution of 20,000 blankets and other goods.
Italy's Premier, Signor dc Gasperi, is taking measures to supplement. from Government funds, the sum of 2 million Lira (about £1,200) earmarked by the Pontifical Relief Organisation, Drives are being made throughout the country to collect food, clothing and medical supplies for the floodvictims. Convoys of emergency supplies are leaving Rome for the North
The English floods, in comparison, have been mild and harmless.
Down in Hampshire, one of the worst-affected areas. Catholics in Ringwood and Fordingbridge were prevented from going to Mass on Sunday. But as far as can be ascertained. no church property suffered and no Catholics had to be evacuated from their houses.
Canon John Glennie Greig, D.S.O.,C.T.E., parish priest of Ringwood, told THE CATHOLIC HERALD on Tuesday: " In spite of the sudden fame that's come to our village through the flood picture in The Times, ordinary life hasn't been affected.
"Outlying roads have been cut, and this meant, of course. that a good number of parishioners couldn't get to church for Mass. It's been unpleasant and uncomfortable for some, but there's been no serious dislocation or damage here."
Much the same story was given by Fr. Vincent Smith. of the Society of Catholic Apostolate, at Fordingbridge. " I can't give a first-hand account," he said, " because the state of the roads have kept me at home. Some have been impassable, but by and large there's been little interruption of work or business."
Certain districts of Dorset, Sussex. Somerset and Essex — where the Catholic population is as small and as scattered as in rural Hampshire— were also affected. But Brentwood's travelling missioner. Fr. Francis Dobson. stated that on his rounds he saw little evidence of serious flooding in Essex.