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A church in the centre of L'Aquila, Italy, which was hit by an earthquake in April, 2009.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his way through the rubble of this medieval city's devastated downtown this morning to announce a $5-million-dollar Canadian contribution to build a centre for city youth.

Mr. Harper made his announcement against the backdrop of a stone government building in a neighbourhood that has been closed off to the public. More than 300 individuals lost their lives in the quake, which hit the area on April 6. Mr. Harper is in town with world leaders for meetings of the Group of Eight major economies.

The PM noted that Canadians have already made significant contributions to the earthquake-stricken zone. "The people of Canada, and Canadians of Italian descent, are proud to stand with the people of Italy as they rebuild after this tragic disaster," he said.

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The money will be used to help build a Canadian centre for youth at the University of L'Aquila, which suffered significant damage in the quake.

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