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The Pope to visit earthquake victims in Italy

Many are hoping that the Pope bring a message of hope to a community plagued with uncertainty. ;But it wasn’t just Italian lives that were affected. Here in L’Aquila, a community of Peruvian immigrants have been among those whose lives were shattered by the quake. ; ;

Zoila Mogollon lived through three earthquakes in Peru. She says her fourth was by far the worst she’s seen.

Zoila MogollonResident of L’Aquila“In 1970, when I felt the first one, I was ten years old. Then I went through another in 1974 again in Peru. Then in 2007. And now in 2009 in Italy it’s the strongest I’ve ever felt. Even the locals say they’ve never seen anything like this before. So, for us it’s been a terrible experience.”

As the damage continues to pile up, so does the amount of money needed to rebuild. The Catholic Church has pledged an extra 2 million Euros on top of the initial 3 million that were pledged in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Victims like Zoila and her husband are counting on the aid to help rebuild their lives.

Zoila MogollonResident of L’Aquila“We don’t know if we’ll be able to stay here in L’Aquila. Not until they rebuild and make it an habitable place again with jobs. We need jobs, otherwise we’ll have to take off and find another place to live.”

The Pope will visit L’Aquila on April 28th. Victims like Martha Perez lost everything they owned to the earthquake except for one important thing that many in L’Aquila expect the Pope to reaffirm: hope.

Marta PerezResident of L’Aquila“Hope is never dead. But we feel like everyday there’s no tranquillity because we still feel aftershocks everyday. So, we’re always on edge. But hope is something we should always have. It should never die.”

A public funeral was held on Good Friday for the victims killed in the earthquake. ; Though the Pope did not attend the ceremony, he sent his condolences with his personal secretary and Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

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