Quake fatality to be buried today

Israeli medical student Hussein Hamada found under the ruins of L'Aquila dormitory; death toll: 287.

italy earthquake 2 248.88 (photo credit: )
italy earthquake 2 248.88
(photo credit: )
Meanwhile, on yet another day punctuated by aftershocks, a particularly sharply felt tremor rocked the quake-stricken area at 9:38 p.m. on Thursday. The shaking lasted a minute and was felt in Rome some 70 miles away from L'Aquila. An unoccupied four-story building, heavily damaged in Monday's quake, collapsed in L'Aquila's historic center, Carabinieri military police said. Italy's National Geophysics Institute said the aftershock registered 4.9 on the Richter-scale. The strong aftershocks rattled residents - nearly 18,000 of whom are living in tent camps around the stricken region. An additional 10,000 have been put up in seaside hotels, out of the quake zone, and the Italian railway provided heated sleeping cars at L'Aquila's main train station, where nearly 700 people spent the night. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the government had increased the sum allocated for emergency aid to €100 million ($133 million), and that reconstruction would cost several billion euros. The mayor of L'Aquila signed an ordinance declaring public and privately owned buildings unfit for habitation - a formality needed for teams to begin assessing the damage, news agencies reported. While residents have been told not to return to their homes, firefighters who had been digging through the rubble for survivors began entering wrecked buildings Thursday to retrieve essential items like medicine for residents. Anti-looting patrols have increased in the quake zone; some residents stayed in cars near their homes to keep watch all the same. Berlusconi on Wednesday said stiffer anti-looting measures would be introduced amid reports the problem was on the rise. In Rome, police arrested a man posing as a civil protection worker who was collecting donations for quake relief, the ANSA news agency said. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano toured the quake area Thursday. He stopped at the collapsed student dorm in L'Aquila, visited the nearly leveled small town of Onna, and met with some of the homeless at tent camps. At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Holy Thursday Mass that included the traditional blessing of holy oils - some of which the church will send to the earthquake zone as a sign of closeness to the stricken population. Benedict was sending his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, as well as the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to preside over Friday's funeral services for the victims. Benedict plans to tour the area sometime after the Easter holiday.