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Safety concerns over site of Pope’s World Youth Day appearance leaked

Pope Francis in St Peter's Square (CNS)

A leaked report says the site for Pope Francis’s July meeting with world youth in southern Poland poses a “high risk for the life and health of people.”

Released on Monday by TVN24 television, the report from the Government Center for Security reportedly says the planned site for the World Youth Day Mass on July 31 lacks proper access and evacuation routes, a major power line runs nearby and a leak in the nearby dikes on the Vistula River could pose a threat. A rain could turn the site into a swamp and no sufficient medical support has been planned, the document reportedly said.

TVN24 said the report was directed to the head of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s office. Szydlo said the report will be used for improving the security of an event expected to attract some two million young people.

Bishop Damina Muskus, who coordinates preparations for the event, said the report doesn’t account for recent work, and organisers are not looking for another site.

“We must do everything to make this site 100 per cent safe for the participants and for the Pope. Such solutions exist,” Muskus said.

Preparations have started with paths being built and irrigation works underway. Muskus said part of the power line will be off during the event.

Young people from around the world are expected for the World Youth Day – actually a full week from July 25-July 31 – in and around the southern city of Krakow.

Francis is to join on July 27 and participate in prayers, a procession and a night vigil. He will also visit the Jasna Gora sanctuary in Czestochowa and the memorial of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.