- LARINO, Italy (Reuters) -
Aftershocks rocked southern Italy on Monday, causing no serious injuries
but prompting more people to flee their homes a day after grieving families
buried 26 schoolchildren killed by an earthquake last week.
- Officials said the tremors ranged between 3.5 and 4.2
on the Richter scale and hit at the heart of the Molise region where thousands
were made homeless by last Thursday's quake, the biggest to hit Italy in
- A number of homes in the cold, rain-drenched region had
been damaged by the tremors and some people had fled or been evacuated,
pushing the number of homeless to more than 6,000 from 30 different towns
and villages, the officials said.
- "The government will do its part to try and give
a future to those who feel they have lost it," Interior Minister Giuseppe
Pisanu told parliament when he confirmed 50 million euros of funding to
rebuild the region.
- On Thursday, an earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter
scale flattened a school, wiping out almost an entire generation of six-
and seven-year-old children in the small, medieval hillside farming town
of San Giuliano di Puglia.
- Their mass funeral was broadcast live on Italian television
on Sunday. Thousands of people wept and applauded in respect as the procession
of small white coffins snaked up a hill to the town's cemetery.
- MANSLAUGHTER INVESTIGATION
- A public prosecutor opened a manslaughter investigation
at the weekend, saying the collapse of the school was "anomalous."
- Authorities said they were investigating why a 1998 map
on earthquake risks which indicated Molise was a quake-prone region had
not been officially adopted, thus imposing more stringent building regulations
in the town.
- "If I could go back in time I wouldn't wait for
the map to be adopted. I would make all buildings in Molise conform to
anti-earthquake norms," the president of the region, Michele Iorio,
- A teacher also died and two other women were killed when
their homes caved in on Thursday, taking the death toll to 29.
- The casualties sparked widespread criticism about Italy's
preparedness for earthquakes.
- "We've been talking about earthquake prevention
for years, but people, the government, media, nobody does anything until
people are killed," said Enzo Boschi, head of the National Geophysics
Institute, adding that more tremors were expected.
- In the southern coastal city of Naples, 11 schools remained
empty on Monday as parents demanded that experts examine whether the buildings
were quake-proof before letting their children return.
- With aftershocks rippling through the Molise region and
buildings still unsafe, the families of San Giuliano spent their fourth
night in a cramped makeshift tent camp and residents throughout the region
slept in their cars.
- "Fear is here. There will probably be more quakes
tonight but you have to try to get on with your life," said Gianfranco
Recchi, a pensioner in the town of Termoli, 25 miles from San Giuliano.
(With additional reporting by Claire Soares in Termoli)
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