Pope Francis is calling for public and church institutions in his native Argentina to step up assistance to the tens of thousands of people left homeless by torrential rains that have killed at least 52 people. Francis sent a telegram today to his newly appointed successor, Buenos Aires Archbishop Mario Poli, saying he was praying for the dead, their families, and survivors of the disaster.
At least 46 people died yesterday around the city of La Plata, while another six were reported dead in the low-lying capital, Buenos Aires. Francis said he "encourages civil and ecclesiastical institutions, as well as all people of good will, to provide in a spirit of charity and Christian solidarity the necessary help to those who have lost their homes or personal belongings." (Read more Argentina stories.)