Rome - The death toll from the magnitude 6.2 quake, which struck a mountainous area of central Italy early on Wednesday, reached 267, Italy’s Civil Protection Department said.
Rome – The death toll from the magnitude 6.2 quake, which struck a mountainous area of central Italy early on Wednesday, reached 267, Italy’s Civil Protection Department said.
The first funerals are set to be held on Friday morning, including those of two children and their grandparents who died in one of the worst-hit regions, Pescara del Tronto.
Immacolata Postiglione, head of the agency’s emergency unit, indicated there had been no survivors found overnight as rescuers sifted through rubble for a third day. There are now 367 people hospitalized with injuries since the magnitude 6.2 quake struck on Wednesday.
The earthquake hit a remote area of central Italy, with deaths reported in three villages in a mountainous area straddling the regions of Lazio and Marche: Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.
One of the worst hit villages was Amatrice which normally has a population of around 2,500 but was packed with visitors when the quake struck.
At least eight foreigners are among the dead, three British, two Romanian and one each from Spain, Canada and El Salvador.
The Government has declared a state of emergency for the regions affected by the earthquake with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi releasing an initial tranche of 50 million euros ($74 million) for emergency aid.
Quake experts have estimated that the cost of the short-term rescue effort and mid to longer-term reconstruction could exceed $1 billion euros.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said some 293 historical buildings were damaged or destroyed by the quake, although the most important heritage sites in the region were unscathed.
Mr Renzi admitted that Italy has a difficult task ahead to secure buildings — and its vast collection of historical heritage — against quake damage, but said that modern technology could play a role.