Rescuers Search for Italy Quake Survivors
Aquila, Italy (RPRN)07 April 2009-Rescue workers in Italy continue to search for survivors a day after a powerful earthquake destroyed much of the historic central town of L’Aquila.
Civil protection officials in Italy say at least 179 people were killed in Monday’s earthquake, 1,500 injured and tens of thousands left homeless. Damage is reported as far away as Rome, about 100 kilometers to the south.
Rescuers have been pulling people out of the rubble. Officials say at least 34 people are still missing.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised that no one will be abandoned. He canceled a planned trip to Russia and declared a state of emergency in the Abruzzo region, where several towns are severely damaged.
(Firefighters and rescuers carry out a body from the rubble of a collapsed university dorm building in L’Aquila, central Italy, 07 Apr 2009)
Italian police chief Antonio Maganelli said police have arrested several looters picking through abandoned houses.
U.S. scientists measured the quake at magnitude 6.3.
U.S. President Barack Obama sent condolences, and the embassy in Rome sent $50,000 in emergency aid. Pope Benedict prayed at the Vatican for the dead and the injured. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has offered Russian help.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokeswoman says he is saddened by the deaths and destruction. He alerted Italian authorities that the U.N. is ready to send in disaster relief.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.