Search for quake sur­vivors con­tin­ues

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

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.

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