The Pope visited areas of Italy affected by the earthquake

ROME, 4 Okt — news, Natalia Shmakov. Pope Francis on Tuesday nearly the entire day is spent in areas that were near the epicenter of a strong earthquake, which occurred on the night of August 24 in Central Italy, according to the press Service of the Holy see.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.0 occurred on the night of 24 August, damage was recorded in three regions — Lombardy, Marche and Umbria. Oscillations of the earth’s surface were felt in many Italian cities, including Rome, Florence and Bologna. According to recent reports, the victims of the disaster became 298 people, several hundred injured, more than three thousand lost their roof over the head.

The Pontiff on Tuesday morning arrived with an unplanned visit to the earthquake devastated city of Amatrice. For security reasons, the information about the Pope’s visit is not pre-spread.

At the beginning of his visit Francis visited the city school of Amatrice, where he met with students and teachers, then alone he prayed in the square in front of destroyed houses and talked with the firefighters who are involved in the rubble, thanking them for the work.

“I didn’t come earlier because my visit would have caused more difficulties than had help, but from the first moment I felt the need to be near you,” Francis said during a meeting with victims of the earthquake.

After a visit to Amatrice, the Pontiff went to a medical facility of San Raffaele of Borbone, where he met with 60 older people who are there for treatment, and dined with them.

Then the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church arrived in Accumula, where he greeted the crowd in the square of people, including the mayor of the town, Stefano Petrucci, and prayed in front of the ruined Church of St Francis.

The last three stops of Francis steel towns of Pescara del Tronto Arquata del Tronto in the Marche region, also badly affected by the disaster at the end of August, and San Pellegrino di Norcia in Umbria.

“I welcome you all. I was there with you and I feel very close in this moment of sorrow and pray for you and ask God to give you strength to move forward,” said Francis.

The next morning after the earthquake in Central Italy Pope Francis during the General audience in the Vatican said that deeply amazed by the fact that the town of Amatrice was virtually destroyed in the earthquake and prayed for all those killed and wounded.

On 28 August, the Pontiff expressed the hope soon to visit the areas worst affected by the disaster.