Search for quake survivors continues
PESCARA DEL TRONTO — As the search for survivors grinds on, Premier Matteo Renzi pledged new money and measures on Thursday to rebuild quake-devastated central Italy amid mounting soul-searching over why the seismicprone country has continually failed to ensure its buildings can withstand such catastrophes.
A day after the deadly quake killed 250 people, a 4.3 magnitude aftershock sent up plumes of thick gray dust in the hard-hit town of Amatrice. The aftershock crumbled already cracked buildings, rattled residents and closed already clogged roads.
It was only one of the more than 470 temblors that have followed Wednesday's pre-dawn quake.
Firefighters and rescue crews using sniffer dogs worked in teams around the hard-hit areas in central Italy, pulling chunks of cement, rock and metal from mounds of rubble where homes once stood.
Rescuers refused to say when their work would shift from saving lives to recovering bodies, noting that one person was pulled alive from the rubble 72 hours after the 2009 quake in the nearby town of L'Aquila. "We will work relentlessly until the last person is found, and make sure no one is trapped," said Lorenzo Botti, a rescue team spokesperson.
Worst affected by the quake were the tiny towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, 100km northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto, 25km further to the east.Many were left homeless by the scale of the destruction, their homes and apartments declared uninhabitable. Some survivors, escorted by firefighters, were allowed to go back inside homes briefly on Thursday to get essential necessities for what will surely be an extended absence.
"Last night we slept in the car. Tonight, I don't know," said Nello Caffini as he carried his sister-in-law's belongings on his head after being allowed to go quickly into her home in Pescara del Tronto.
Caffini has a house in nearby Ascoli, but said his sister-inlaw was too terrified by the aftershocks to go inside it. "When she is more tranquil, we will go to Ascoli," he said. — AFP.