Catholics in Nepal are preparing for a bleak Christmas because of an economic blockade imposed by neighboring India. Supplies of fuel for vehicles, cooking gas dwindled, electricity service is intermittent.
Inclement weather and logistical pressures were delaying aid to hundreds of thousands of Nepalese earthquake victims.
"The logistical problems are enormous and sadly, relief is being delayed," Fr. Pius Perumana, director of Caritas Nepal, told Catholic News Service on Tuesday.
"The arrival of several Catholic aid groups are delayed due to the congestion at the airport," he said. "Those who went to collect relief material from a flight [scheduled] to land at 11:30 a.m. are still at the airport even now [at 5 p.m.]."
Church leaders criticized police manhandling of Christians who gathered Feb. 5 at the gate of Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi to protest recent attacks on churches.
"The people are angry, anguished and frustrated. Five churches have been attacked in Delhi in two months and yet, not a single arrest has been made so far," Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi told Catholic News Service Feb. 5.
Hours before Pope Francis was to arrive in Sri Lanka, people in Colombo were busy with final preparations for his "historic visit."