Rescue workers continued to search for the missing in the Abruzzo earthquake after a night of powerful aftershocks and torrential rain, with the death toll reaching 179. Two girls were pulled alive from the rubble overnight, rescue workers said. But 34 people have been listed as still unaccounted for by distraught relatives. Thousands of residents have been evacuated to tent cities set up in sports fields, and 800 farm bed and breakfast establishments have offered refuge to the homeless. Outlying villages such as Onna and Castelnuovo have also been devastated, and hospitals in the area have appealed for help from doctors and nurses throughout Italy. The earthquake struck shortly after 330 am on Monday night and registered 6.3 on the Richter scale. It was the worst earthquake to hit Italy since 2002, when 30 people, most of them children, were killed in a school collapse in the South. Some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed, officials said. The mayor of L’Aquila, Massimo Cialente, said about 100,000 people were homeless.

Local people said that seismic activity had increased recently. The first tremors were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the area. One woman whose home collapsed said that there was a severe jolt a week ago. Another woman described the quake as “the apocalypse — our house collapsed”. She added: “For three months there have been regular tremors and they’ve been getting stronger.”


April 7, 2009. Tags: , . news.

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