Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

Europe

Italy starts burying the dead

Video by Luke BROWN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-04-09

Italy held the first funerals for the victims of Monday's 6.3-magnitude earthquake on Wednesday as hope of finding more survivors fades. The number of victims of the quake in central Italy now stands at 272.

AFP - Survivors began burying the dead from Italy's worst earthquake in 30 years as plans were announced for a national memorial service for those who lost their lives in the disaster.
   


Two strong aftershocks rattled the central Abruzzo region early Thursday, where Monday's 6.2-magnitude quake claimed at least 272 lives, according to the latest police figures.
   
Vatican number two Tarcisio Bertone was to lead a memorial service on Friday, which has been declared a national day of mourning, in a suburb of the Abruzzo capital L'Aquila where most of the bodies are lying in a hangar at a police barracks.
   
Relatives have already claimed the bodies of 87 victims who were not L'Aquila natives, the ANSA news agency said.
   
Thousands attended the funeral Wednesday of 25-year-old student Danilo Ciolli in his hometown in the neighbouring province of Molise, ANSA reported.
   
Giuseppe Chiavaroli, who was 24 and played minor league football, was also laid to rest, in Pescara province on the Adriatic coast to the east.
   
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the search for survivors would be extended by two days to Sunday, though hopes were fading fast. As many as 30 people are still missing and believed to be under the rubble.
   
Two lifeless bodies were pulled out a collapsed student dormitory in the centre of L'Aquila early on Thursday.
   
Rescue worker Luca Signorile told AFP: "We'll keep digging until we've found everyone -- dead or alive. We're going to do our job."
   
Berlusconi said 31 tent cities and 24 field kitchens had been set up and 14 roving medical units deployed, while raising the estimate of homeless to 28,000 from a previous figure of 17,000.
   
Nearly 18,000 people were sheltered in some 3,000 tents at the camps dotted around L'Aquila, he said.
   
Making his third visit to the disaster zone in as many days, he wore a red hard hat while comforting a distraught white-haired survivor.
   
Some 7,000 police, soldiers and other emergency service personnel and volunteers were taking part in the earthquake operation, including psychologists offering grief and trauma counselling.
   
Outside the area's main hospital -- condemned and evacuated because of damage from the quake -- doctors performed more than 280 operations in less than 36 hours, an official told AFP.
   
The most serious involved cranial, pelvic and chest fractures as well as internal bleeding, heart problems and epileptic seizures, Mario Caroli said.
   
Every 10 minutes or so another ambulance arrived at the unit staffed by 32 volunteer doctors and nurses.
   
Around 180 of the nearly 1,200 people injured in the quake were said to be in a serious condition.
   
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday that 16 children were among the dead.
   
Berlusconi meanwhile came under fire for comparing the ordeal of survivors staying in emergency tents to a camping weekend.
   
During a visit to a tent village on Tuesday, the gaffe-prone premier told German television "they should see it like a weekend of camping."
   
"He is a completely insensitive man who thinks wisecracks can solve every problem," Rina Gagliardi, a former senator of the Refoundation Communist Party, told AFP.
   
"He can never be negative, but an earthquake disorients him because he can't blame the left for causing it, so his response is extreme optimism," she said.
   
Despite the criticism, Berlusconi has generally won praise from the Italian media for his performance.
   
The government estimates three billion euros (four billion dollars) would be needed to repair or rebuild some 10,000 buildings damaged in the quake.
   
Donations poured in Wednesday in special bank accounts set up to help the survivors and the Italian Senate's 315 members decided to have 1,000 euros (1,323 dollars) deducted from their salaries for the cause.
   
Football teams also pitched in, with Seria A sides Napoli, Fiorentina, Catania and Siena deciding to donate the takings from their next league matches to the victims.
   
Pope Benedict XVI said at his weekly audience that he planned to visit the disaster zone "as soon as possible" but a Vatican spokesman told AFP that such a visit would not take place within the next fortnight.
  

Date created : 2009-04-09

COMMENT(S)