The Vatican press office has announced that in the wake of a 6.2 magnitude earthquake felt throughout central Italy early Wednesday morning, Pope Francis has sent six Vatican firefighters to help with the relief services.
A statement issued by the Vatican said it is "a sign of the pope's concrete proximity to the people affected by the quake.”
This action followed the pope's morning General Audience, where he prayed the rosary with more than 11,000 visiting pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for the families and victims of the quake.
The earthquake's epicenter was Amatrice, but was felt in surrounding cities including Pescara del Tronto, Accumoli and Rome.
Rescue crews from around the country have come to assist and offer aid to the victims and their families, asking for donations of nonperishable food, water, clothing and even blood for those affected. Nearby hotels and grocery stores have also opened their doors, offering free help to those who need it.