Italy Earthquake 2016: State of Emergency Declared In Worst Hit Regions
A state of emergency has been declared in Italy’s regions worst hit by August 24 earthquake as hopes of finding more survivors fade.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi has pledged €50 million in funds for rebuilding.
At least 268 people are now reported dead and 400 were injured. Rescue teams have continued to search the rubble of toppled buildings for a second night.
However, hundreds of aftershocks have hampered the efforts of the 5,000 rescuers.
Another magnitude-4.7 tremor struck on August 26.
In addition to the funds, Matteo Renzi canceled taxes for residents and announced a new initiative, “Italian Homes”, to tackle criticism over shoddy construction.
He also said that it was “absurd” to think that Italy could build completely quake-proof buildings.
The move follows criticism in the Italian media over building standards in high-risk areas. Some of the buildings that collapsed had recently been renovated.
Historic towns do not have to conform to anti-quake building regulations, which are also often not applied when new buildings are put up.
The 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit in the early hours of August 24, 65 miles north-east of Rome in mountainous central Italy.
The worst affected towns – Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto – are usually sparsely populated but have been swelled by tourists visiting for summer, making estimates for the precise number missing difficult.
More than 200 people died in Amatrice alone.
Bodies are still being found in the town, including one discovered in the rubble of the Hotel Roma in the city on August 25.
An official with the fire department, Lorenzo Botti, admitted they were facing a race against time.
However, other rescuers said there was still hope, noting that one survivor was pulled from ruins in L’Aquila in 2009 three days after an earthquake that killed more than 300 people.
Search teams have asked locals to disable their Wi-Fi passwords to help rescue workers communicate more effectively.
Police have also arrested a man for attempting to break into and loot an empty home in the town, Ansa reported.