Pope Francis on Thursday urged Italian bishops to do their utmost to assist people in mountainous central Italy after four strong earthquakes and an avalanche struck the area, killing up to 30 people at a ski hotel.
'Pope Francis is constantly informed on the situation and has been regularly calling the bishops in dioceses in the area," the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, Monsignor Nunzio Galantino, told Adnkronos.
"He is asking them to pray and do everything they possibly can to show the Church is there for people," Galantino added.
Rescuers pulled three bodies from a hotel in the ski resort of Farindola in the Abruzzo region where up to 30 people including children are feared to have died when Wednesday's quakes triggered an avalanche.
Guests and staff at the hotel were trapped inside the four-star hotel in freezing temperatures. The avalanche crushed part of the hotel, shifting it 10 metres and leaving it buried under several metres of snow.
After the three strong earthquakes that hit central Italy's mountainous spine in August and October last year, Francis paid a visit to the quake-devastated Lazio hill town of Amatrice, where 238 people died.