More bodies located beneath rubble in
Italy quake zone
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[August 29, 2016]
By Iona Serrapica and Miran Jelenek
AMATRICE, Italy (Reuters) - Rescuers
believe they have found more bodies buried deep in the rubble of the
ruined town of Amatrice, five days after a devastating earthquake struck
central Italy, killing at least 290 people.
Residents of the hill town estimated that up to 10 people were still
missing and emergency services said they had located three corpses in
Amatrice's Hotel Roma, which, like much of the historic center, was
wrecked by Wednesday's quake.
Deputy Mayor Gianluca Carloni said his uncle's body had still not been
recovered from the hotel, which was particularly busy at this time of
year because of a food festival.
"It is absolutely vital to finish as soon as possible this initial
(search) phase to make sure that there are no more bodies under the
rubble," he said.
Museums across Italy donated proceeds from their ticket sales on Sunday
to help the rebuilding effort, while top flight soccer teams held a
minute's silence before their weekend matches out of respect for the
Pope Francis led prayers for the dead in his weekly address in St
Peter's Square in Rome, saying he wanted to go to the earthquake zone to
bring comfort to the survivors.
"Dear brothers and sisters, as soon as it is possible, I hope to come
and visit you," he said.
Priests in the quake zone held their regular Sunday services in large
tents. Amatrice's municipal website said the town had 100 churches, but
every one was damaged by the disaster and many would have to be
With aftershocks continuing to rattle the region, including a magnitude
4.4 quake centered on the nearby city of Ascoli Piceno, residents were
still struggling to absorb the disaster.
"It took me 20 years to get my house, and then, in just 10 seconds, it
was gone, like so many others," said Ascenzio Attenni, who lived in the
hamlet of Sant'Angelo outside Amatrice, where eight people died.
"We have to thank God that we are alive," he said, before breaking down
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A rescue worker and a dog search among debris following an
earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro
Rescue operations in most of the area were halted two days ago, but
teams were still combing Amatrice, which is 105 km (65 miles) east
of Rome. The fire service said it was trying to remove some of the
fallen masonry at the Hotel Roma and create a safe path to retrieve
the three bodies as soon as possible.
The Civil Protection Department lowered the official death toll on
Sunday to 290 from a previously given 291. A number of foreigners
were among the dead, including 11 Romanians, the foreign ministry in
Many Romanians work in Italy and Bucharest said 14 of its nationals
were still unaccounted for.
Italy has promised to rebuild the shattered communities and has said
it will learn from the mistakes following a similar earthquake in
the nearby city of L'Aquila in 2009, where much of the center is
still out of bounds.
The rebuilding effort was stalled following allegations that
organized crime groups had muscled in to obtain lucrative contracts.
Italy's anti-mafia chief Franco Roberti said the experience of
L'Aquila would serve well this time around, but warned that the
government could not lower its guard.
"The risks are there and it is pointless to pretend otherwise," he
told la Repubblica newspaper. "Post-quake reconstruction is always
very appetising for criminal gangs and their business partners."
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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