WORLD YOUTH DAY ENTERS RECORD BOOKS
300 Restaurants, 20 Million Liters of Water, and 14,000 Bathrooms
VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT.org).- Today, the average age of pedestrians in Rome descended rapidly.
Barracks, parishes, and camp sites in the Eternal City have filled with young people carrying
backpacks and sleeping bags. 272 public schools of the City of Rome have
been converted into giant dormitories.
World Youth Day, which will be held from August 15-20, will enter
the record books for several reasons; however, the number of
participants is still indefinite. It is worth noting that during the
last World Youth Day held in Paris, the number of participants was
double that predicted.
Following are some impressive organizational data for the World Day.
According to forecasts by the Roman Jubilee Agency, 800,000 youth
will arrive in 15,000 buses; 100,000 in 70 special trains; 100,000
by air; 1,000 by ship; and 200,000 by car. It is estimated that
100,000 Roman residents will participate in the final meeting with
the Pope in Tor Vergata.
From the outskirts of Rome to the
heart of the city there are welcome centers manned by 25,000
volunteers, where the youth can find out about their accommodations,
collect an information packet on the World Youth Day, and obtain
Centers for the distribution of meals, prepared by the Sodexho catering company, have been
established in Roman squares and parking lots. It is the largest service of meal distribution in history,
and is made possible thanks to the co-operation of some 1,600 Sodexho employees and 5,000 pilgrims.
Therefore, beginning today, and until August 20, young pilgrims will be able to have hot breakfasts,
lunches, and dinners by showing the ticket they will be given by the organizers. Lunch is served
between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and dinner between 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.
The most difficult undertaking has been the preparation of the Tor Vergata field, where the meetings
with the Pope will take place on August 19 and 20, and where between 1.2 to 1.5 million participants
are expected. The facilities for this event speak for themselves: 51 pilgrim
aid centers; 81 lighting towers; 14,000 chemical toilets (over 100 for the handicapped); 20 million liters
of bottled water to be distributed in pilgrim aid centers; 18 miles of new roads accessing the Tor
Vergata field; 3,000 water fountains; 14 giant video screens; 9 radio bridges to activate the mobile phone network; 40 miles of barriers; 2,200 trash cans; and 4,156 signs and
Five hospitals are prepared to care for pilgrims with fainting spells, and accidents during the August
19-20 meeting. Tor Vergata itself will have 12 first aid centers; 12 health tents and one tent-hospital.
There will be 30 ambulances, 5 medical scooters, and 2 helicopter-ambulances available. Medical care
will be covered by 36 health teams including 197 doctors, 305 nurses, and 374 health agents.