Funeral tears as Italy says farewell to quake dead
ITALY has bid a tearful farewell to dozens of those who died in last week’s earthquake as the nation mourned the victims of a disaster that claimed nearly 300 lives.
President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and other leaders were among hundreds of mourners at a sports hall in Ascoli Piceno, capital of the central Marche region, on August 27.
The hall had been temporarily converted into a place of worship for the funeral of most of the people who perished in the villages of Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto in the region’s mountainous interior.
Hundreds more stood silently outside, the sombre proceedings of the mass relayed to them by loudspeaker, three days after the deadly pre-dawn quake which killed 291 people according to the latest count.
Relatives of the dead hugged each other as Giovanni D’Ercole, the bishop of Ascoli, implored them not to lose faith.
“Don’t be afraid to scream your suffering, but do not lose courage,” he said. “Together we will rebuild our houses. Together, above all, we will give life back to our communities ... The village bells will ring once more.”
Emergency services are confident they have accounted for everyone in the smaller outlying hamlets that were so badly damaged there are doubts as to whether they will ever be inhabited again. –
(From left) Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella, Senate President Pietro Grasso, Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Mr Renzi’s wife Agnese attend a funeral service for victims of the earthquake in Ascoli Piceno on August 27.