Pope prays for flood victims

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Thai soldiers fix a broken flood barrier in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. City dikes overflowed in at least two places as coastal high tides pushed up the main Chao Praya river from the Gulf of Thailand, with water spilling into streets as city workers and troops shored up concrete walls with sandbags. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI says he is praying for the victims of recent flooding in Thailand and Italy.

Benedict began his greetings to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on Sunday by recalling the devastation caused by heavy rains in the two countries. Thailand's worst flooding in half a century has claimed 381 lives over the last three months. In Italy, floods and mudslides last week devastated coastal areas of Liguria and Tuscany and killed nine people.

The pope says he wants to express his closeness to those suffering because of the flooding and assure them of his prayers.