All Mormon missionaries in Italy and all LDS Church members there are alive and well after a powerful earthquake killed at least 120 people in central Italy early Wednesday morning.
Italy Rome Mission President Michael Dean Pickerd sent an email to families of the missionaries to report that "all our missionaries have been contacted and are safe and accounted for."
Meanwhile, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Europe expressed "great sorrow for all those who have been affected by the terrible tragedy of the earthquake," in a news release Wednesday.
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake devastated Accumoli and Amatrice in the province of Rieti in Lazio and all the surrounding areas at about 3:30 a.m. The region is 100 miles northeast of Rome, but the awakened people in the ancient city and could be felt as far away as Bologna in the north and Naples in the south, the New York Times reported.
The newspaper said Italian authorities said the quake was comparable in intensity to a 2009 earthquake in the Abruzzo region of central Italy that killed more than 300 people.
Also Wednesday, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake pounded Myanmar, killing three destroying more than 170 Buddhist temples.
"We also recognize events in Myanmar," LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said, "and likewise pray for the people of that country impacted by the overnight earthquake."
An expert told National Geographic that about 150 earthquakes in the 6 to 6.9 range strike somewhere in the world each year — two or three per week.
LDS Church leaders in Europe also encouraged prayers for those affected.
"As they continue the search for those trapped in the rubble, we invite everyone to pray for those who are suffering, for those without news of their loved ones, for those who are injured, for those who are still under the rubble," they said in Wednesday's news release.
The church has offered assistance to Italian authorities, and the news release said Mormons will be asked to contribute in multiple ways.
The LDS Church has over 26,000 members in Italy in 103 congregations.
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We also recognize events in Myanmar, and likewise pray for the people of that country impacted by the overnight earthquake.”
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