Italy mourns earthquake victims, death toll rises to 291

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ROME,  (Xinhua) — The death toll in the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy Wednesday evening has risen to 291, said the Civil Protection agency on Saturday evening.

The death toll in the worst-hit town Amatrice was 230, while the number of victims in Accumoli and Arquato del Tronto were 11 and 50 respectively.

A man, who was injured in the town of Arquata del Tronto, receiving treatment at a hospital in Perugia, died from serious injuries.

Authorities have released the names of 181 victims. The youngest was five months old, the oldest 93. Six Romanians, three Britons, a Spanish woman, a Canadian and an Albanian died in the calamity.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Saturday attended the mass funeral for the 35 victims in Ascoli Piceno, the capital of the Marche region.

Dozens of caskets were lined up in a cavernous gymnasium in Ascoli Piceno. People bid farewell to loved ones, kneeling, crying and placing their hands on flower-covered caskets.

Renzi told one youth at the funeral,”we will decide all together how to get going again. But don’t give up, that is crucial.”.

Mattarella, during his visit to Amatrice, met and thanked rescue workers who have been working since early Wednesday to save people trapped in rubble and recover the dead, reported State TV Rai.

Investigation has been launched into some of the incidents, including the collapse of a belltower in the town of Accumoli, which smashed through the roof of an adjacent building killing a family of four.

“What happened cannot just be considered fate,” said prosecutor Giuseppe Saieva, who is leading the probe.

Italy has declared Aug. 27 a national day of mourning and flags in public places are flown at half-mast to commemorate the lives lost.

Funerals for the victims of Amatrice and Accumoli will be held on Aug. 30, according to Rai.

Aftershocks continued to hit the area, the strongest measuring 4.8 magnitude on the Richter scale. More than 1,300 aftershocks occurred since Wednesday’s biggest quake, according to the Italian geological institute.

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