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Italy Earthquake: Death toll hits 284; tears flow as the country prepares state funeral

Sat August 27 2016, 3:55 pm
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    Italy Earthquake: The number of people killed in an earthquake that has wrecked parts of central Italy rose to 284 on Saturday, as the country started a day of mourning and prepared for a mass funeral for some of the victims. A further two bodies were found overnight in the worst-hit town, Amatrice, which was flattened by Wednesday's powerful quake causing the deaths of at least 224 residents and tourists. (Photo: AP)

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    Italy Earthquake: Although rescuers continued to scour the mounds of rubble -- all that remains of most buildings -- there was little hope of finding survivors. Italian President Sergio Mattarella flew to Amatrice by helicopter on Saturday to see the damage first hand before travelling on later in the morning to the nearby city of Ascoli Piceno for the funeral of up to 40 of the victims. (Photo: AP)

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    Italy Earthquake: Mourners gathered at a sports centre in the city, where 35 coffins were lined up by early Saturday. "Even if I didn't know them my heart broke for them. My thoughts are with them because there are people who have lost everything, homes, loved ones and the sacrifices made in life," said local resident, Luciana Cavicchiuni. "These things should not happen," she said. (Photo: Reuters)

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    Italy Earthquake: Aftershocks continued to rattle the area overnight, the strongest measuring 4.2. The Italian geological institute said some 1,332 aftershocks have hit Italy's central mountains since Wednesday's predawn 6.2 magnitude quake. (Photo: AP)

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    Italy Earthquake: Mourners sobbed and caressed coffins, some of them holding the bodies of young children, as Italy prepared to hold a state funeral for some of the people killed in the devastating earthquake that struck a central mountainous area this week. As Italy observed a day of national mourning, with flags flying at half-staff, those hit hardest by the tragedy expressed their grief. (Photo: Reuters)

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    Italy Earthquake: A young man wept over a small white coffin containing the body of a little girl, while a woman nearby gently stroked another white coffin. Everywhere people hugged and cried as they stood amid 34 coffins laid out in a community gym in Ascoli Piceno, where the state funeral is to be held in the presence of President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Matteo Renzi. (Photo: Reuters)

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    Italy Earthquake: "It is a great tragedy. There are no words to describe it,'' said Gina Razzetti, a town resident who joined hundreds of local people for the funeral. "Each one of us has our pain inside. We are thinking about the families who lost relatives, who lost their homes, who lost everything." Many children and elderly people killed in the quake, which struck an area inhabited by many older people. Some had grandchildren visiting in the last days of summer. (Photo: Reuters)

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    Italy Earthquake: The Italian institute and other authorities say that satellite images show that the ground below Accumoli sank 20 centimeters (8 inches) due to the earthquake. Many of the people left homeless have been spending their nights in tent cities where volunteers have been working to provide basic amenities. (Photo: Reuters)

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    Italy Earthquake: A friar pays his respects as he attends a funeral for the earthquake victims inside a gym in Ascoli Piceno (Reuters)

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