- Title: Pope comforts Italy quake survivors at emotional meeting
- Date: 5th January 2017
- Summary: AMATRICE, ITALY (FILE - AUGUST 2016) (REUTERS) POLICE OFFICER USING TORCH AS HE WALKS IN RUBBLE RIGHT AFTER QUAKE HIT DEBRIS / PEOPLE SEARCHING THROUGH RUBBLE WOMAN SEARCHING THROUGH RUBBLE ELDERLY WOMAN WRAPPED IN BLANKET WALKING PAST AS RUBBLE IS BEING SHOVELLED OFF STREET SURVIVOR WRAPPED IN THERMAL BLANKET ON STRETCHER BEING CARRIED BY RESCUERS AFTER BEING PULLED OUT OF RUBBLE RESCUERS CARRYING COFFIN UNDER SHELTER PEOPLE CRYING AND COMFORTING EACH OTHER SMALL CHILD-SIZE CASKET LAID ON GROUND
- Embargoed: 20th January 2017 13:21
- Keywords: Pope Francis audience Vatican earthquake victims
- Location: VATICAN AND AMATRICE, ITALY
- City: VATICAN AND AMATRICE, ITALY
- Country: Vatican City
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0035XT145J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Pope Francis on Thursday (January 5) encouraged victims of Italy's recent devastating earthquakes, which killed some 300 people, to "rebuild hearts" as well as houses and seek the reconciliation that can come from tragedies.
The pope, speaking sombrely, delivered an impromptu talk to several thousand people from areas hit by a string of earthquakes from August to November that flattened entire towns in the Umbria, Lazio and Marche regions.
Francis spoke for about 20 minutes with no text after listening to several people who recounted their experiences.
He based his speech on the words of quake victims who addressed him on the stage.
"What is needed today is hope, to rebuild, and that is done with our hands - another word that touched me," the pope said.
A number of people in the Vatican's vast audience hall were moved to tears when he urged them to "rebuild hearts" with hope, even though they would carry the scars of the quake with them for the rest of their lives.
The crowd applauded when he said "I wanted to take your words and make them mine because in your situation the worst thing that one can do is deliver a sermon, it's the worst."
Powerful earthquakes hit central Italy in August, October and November. One, measuring 6.6 magnitude, was the strongest to strike Italy for 36 years. They were followed by thousands of aftershocks.
The quakes have reshaped more than 600 square km (230 square miles) of land, lowering areas around the epicentre by up to 70 cm (28 inches), according to data released by Italy's National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology.
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