Report: Krakow site not safe for July’s World Youth Day event

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) The venue for Pope Francis’ appearance at World Youth Day in Poland lacks key safety measures, according to a report ahead of the July event.

The “Field of Mercy” site close to Krakow, in southern Poland, is prone to flooding from the nearby Vistula River and lacks the necessary evacuation routes. Rain could pose further risks while a major power line has also been identified close to the venue, according to a report cited by the Catholic Herald.

The site poses a “high risk for the life and health of people,” according to the report by the Government Center for Security, which was published by Polish television channel TVN24.

While many of the events will take place at Blonia Park in Krakow, the Field of Mercy venue is around nine miles southeast of the city and will host the papal vigil on July 30 and a closing Mass the following day.


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The recent findings were reportedly passed to the office of Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydlo, and will be used to make changes ahead of the summer event.

The coordinator of World Youth Day, Bishop Damian Muskus, said improvements have already been made, such as irrigation work and the construction of paths.

“We must do everything to make this site 100 percent safe for the participants and for the pope. Such solutions exist,” Muskus said, quoted by the Catholic Herald.

The triennial World Youth Day is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of young Catholics for a weeklong calendar of events, including a prayer service with Francis.

(Rosie Scammell is the Vatican correspondent for RNS)