Emergency services hone plans for papal mass

4th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 August 2005, COLOGNE - Emergency services in Germany said Thursday they are ready for an open-air papal Mass with as many as one million worshippers to round off Pope Benedict XVI's first trip abroad.

4 August 2005

COLOGNE - Emergency services in Germany said Thursday they are ready for an open-air papal Mass with as many as one million worshippers to round off Pope Benedict XVI's first trip abroad.

Large numbers of police and ambulance attendants are expected to be on duty in Cologne during the August 16-21 World Youth Day congress in the city which climaxes with the Mass on the final day.

Ingo Wolf, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, said that with 12,000 staff on duty, it was the biggest joint operation by police, fire services and civil-defence agencies in the 56-year history of the state.

On the 260-hectare Marienfeld, a remodelled opencast coal-mine where Benedict is to preach August 21, some 2,500 ambulance personnel in 25 first-aid stations could theoretically cope with up to 25,000 people fainting or suffering other injuries.

Four medical-evacuation helicopters are scheduled to be on standby to take people to hospital if necessary.

Security at the Marienfeld is to be in the hands of 4,000 personnel. An estimated 400,000 pilgrims aged under 30 are expected be joined at the Mass by an unknown number, perhaps 400,000 to 600,000, of older Catholics keen to see the German-born pope.

A top-level alert has been declared for the four-day papal visit beginning August 18, with special forces patrolling land, air and the river Rhine.

A no-fly zone has been declared to keep light aircraft away from the city.

DPA

Subject: German news

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