Death toll in Italian earthquake rises to 20.
At least 20 people, including five children, have been confirmed dead after a powerful earthquake hit central Italy’s Abruzzo region on Monday, Italian police said.
The earthquake struck the mountainous region northeast of Rome at around 3:32 a.m. local time (01:32 GMT) and was followed shortly afterwards by a strong aftershock measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale.
A source in a hospital said the death toll in the earthquake has risen to 27.
Another 30 people are still missing and the death toll is expected to rise, police said, adding that 15-20 people were still trapped under the rubble of a residential building in the regional capital of L’Aquila.
The earthquake also damaged up to 10,000 houses.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the tragedy, described by Italian officials as “the major disaster of the new millennium.”
Berlusconi, who was due to arrive in Moscow on Monday to discuss trade and economic cooperation as head of a 900-member Italian business delegation, has canceled the trip.
ROME, April 7 – The mountainous region of Abruzzo in central Italy, where 179 people died in a powerful quake, was hit by aftershocks overnight, a civil protection department spokesman said on Tuesday.
According to preliminary reports, the quake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale hit the region early Monday, leaving some 70,000 people homeless and destroying thousands of buildings. About 1,500 people are reported injured.
Civil protection officials said the earthquake had caused damage to 26 cities and towns in the area, with around 10,000 buildings in the medieval town of L’Aquila, which was near the epicenter and is the capital of the region, being completely destroyed.
The parliamentary speaker for Italy’s lower house, Gianfranco Fini, said “Some towns in the area have been virtually destroyed in their entirety.”
Italian Infrastructure and Transport Minister Altero Matteoli said over 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) would be needed to rebuild the damaged homes.
He said the Cabinet would meet on Thursday to discuss funding.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who cancelled his visit to Russia said earlier his country did not currently need aid from other states. He also said an emergency government meeting on Monday night had pledged 30 billion euros ($40 billion) to deal with the consequences of the earthquake.
Berlusconi is scheduled to pay another visit to L’Aquila, some 60 miles northeast of Rome, later on Tuesday.
Rescuers pulled more corpses on Thursday from the rubble of Italy’s worst earthquake in three decades, braving strong aftershocks in the dimming hope of finding survivors.The death toll from Monday’s quake in the central region of Abruzzo climbed to 279 after rescuers recovered the latest bodies, including two students buried beneath a dormitory hall.“I am here out of duty, emotion and also gratitude for everything that you are doing,”
President Giorgio Napolitano told rescue workers after visiting a makeshift mortuary.“With the presence of the president, we felt the embrace of all of Italy,” said Cesare Cardozo, priest of the village of Onna, where 39 of some 250 inhabitants were killed.Tremors shook the medieval mountain city of L’Aquila and nearby villages throughout the morning, further damaging buildings and prompting authorities to cordon off the city center, which bore the brunt of the 6.3 magnitude quake.
The aftershocks terrified many survivors, 17,000 of whom spent another cold night in tent villages after being made homeless. Rescuers said the chances of finding anyone alive under the devastated city were decreasing every hour.“Let’s hope these aftershocks stop because it’s very difficult for our rescue workers and for survivors as well,” said Angelo Cutaia, a civil protection official at a camp holding 2,000 people in the outskirts of L’Aquila. “People here won’t feel safe if the earth keeps trembling every night.” Many of the victims of the quake were students at L’Aquila university.
At least 16 children, including a five-month-old baby, were killed.The governor of the Abruzzo region, Gianni Chiodi, said around 10 people were still missing beneath the rubble.Rescue workers haven’t found any survivors for more than 30 hours. The last person rescued, a 20-year-old woman, was dug out from the ruins of a four-storey building late on Tuesday.In rare cases, people have survived more than a week buried under rubble following earthquakes. The government has said searches will continue at least until Easter.