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Pope offers prayer for earthquake victims in Ecuador, Peru

Pope Francis delivers the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis offered prayers Sunday for the victims of an earthquake that shook vast swaths of territory in Ecuador and parts of Peru.

During his weekly Sunday noon blessing, Francis recalled that the 6.8-magnitude temblor caused “death, injuries and heavy damage.”

“I’m close to the Ecuadorean people and assure them of my prayers for the dead and suffering,” Francis said.

Saturday’s quake killed at least 15 people, injured hundreds and brought down homes and buildings in vastly different communities, from coastal areas to the highlands. At least one of the deaths was in Peru.