Obama offers condolences to Italy quake victims

April 8th, 2009 - 3:18 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 8 (DPA) President Barack Obama said the US was ready to help the more than 200 victims of a devastating earthquake in the heart of Italy and offered his condolences in a telephone call Tuesday with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The Italian people and victims “are in the thoughts and prayers of the American people at this time,” Obama told his Italian counterpart, according to the White House.

The death toll from Monday’s earthquake, which had its epicentre over the central Italian town of L’Aquila, rose to 228 Tuesday as rescue workers continued to sift through the rubble for bodies and survivors.

Obama said the US “stands ready to help the Italian people in this time of need”. The State Department Monday said it offered $50,000 through the US embassy in Rome.

Berlusconi Tuesday thanked foreign leaders for their solidarity but said Italy was turning down offers of aid from abroad, sparking some criticism from the opposition political party.

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