Pope: World Must Aid South Asia Flood Victims

( [email protected] ) Aug 13, 2007 01:28 PM EDT

The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has urged the international community to provide immediate assistance to the millions of people displaced by South Asia's worst flooding in decades.

In addition, the pope offered a prayer Sunday for the hundreds who have died in the disaster.

The Associated Press reports that at least 2,120 people have died this year in a particularly calamitous monsoon season in South Asia – double the number killed last year. Some 600 have perished in the past two weeks alone and on Saturday, officials said at least 40 people died.

"I urge the church community to pray for the victims and support all initiatives of solidarity to lessen the suffering of so many people," Benedict said, addressing crowds gathered at his summer residence outside Rome.