Pope to visit northern Italy's quake zone

AP News
Posted: Jun 19, 2012 9:38 AM
Pope to visit northern Italy's quake zone

Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region next week to meet with victims of back-to-back earthquakes that killed 24 people.

The visit echoes one he made in 2009 to the central Italian city of L'Aquila, after a 6.3 magnitude temblor there destroyed much of the city's historic center and killed 308 people.

On Tuesday, Benedict will fly by helicopter to Roverto di Novi near Modena, where the local parish priest was killed in the quake-triggered collapse of his church.

The region north of Bologna was struck by a 6.0-magnitude quake May 20 and a 5.8-magnitude temblor May 29. The quakes dealt blow in particular to the region's famed Parmesean cheese makers.

Already, Benedict has pledged (EURO)500,000 ($616,000) to families in severe need in the quake zone.