Pope prays for Mexico after powerful quake


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is praying for victims of a powerful earthquake in southern Mexico.

Francis spoke off the cuff during his weekly general audience on Wednesday to express his solidarity with Mexico. Speaking in his native Spanish, Francis said: “Yesterday a violent earthquake hit the south of Mexico causing victims, injuries and enormous damage. Let’s pray for them. May the help of God and our brothers give them strength and support. Brothers and sisters, I am very close to you.”

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Authorities say the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that rocked southern  Mexico killed at least 6 people, damaged hundreds of homes and temporarily cut power to more than 2.4 million people.

The quake that struck at 10:29 a.m. Tuesday also caused a brief fire at an oil refinery.

The national Civil Protection Center reports that a sixth fatality  was registered in the southern state of Oaxaca, where at least 500 homes were damaged and colonial-era government buildings showed cracks.

At least six people were injured, including two in Mexico City, more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) north of the epicenter.The 7.4 quake centered near the southern Mexico resort of Huatulco killed at least five people.

The Argentine pope visited Mexico, the world’s second-largest Catholic country, in 2016.

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