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Italy earthquake: Mass funeral for 35 victims

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People attend a funeral service for victims of the earthquake, at a gymnasium arranged in a chapel of rest on August 27, 2016, in Ascoli Piceno, three days after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the region killing some 281 people. Flags flew at half mast across Italy on August 27, 2016 as the country observed a day of mourning for the victims of an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people. President Sergio Mattarella paid tribute to the "extraordinary effort" of more than 4,000 rescue experts and volunteers as he began what was set to be an emotionally charged day with a brief visit to Amatrice, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Rome.The small mountain town suffered the heaviest losses in the disaster with around two thirds of the quake's 284 confirmed victims buried under tonnes of collapsed masonry in its devastated centre. PHOTO: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

People attend a funeral service for victims of the earthquake, at a gymnasium arranged in a chapel of rest on August 27, 2016, in Ascoli Piceno, three days after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the region killing some 281 people. Flags flew at half mast across Italy on August 27, 2016 as the country observed a day of mourning for the victims of an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people. President Sergio Mattarella paid tribute to the “extraordinary effort” of more than 4,000 rescue experts and volunteers as he began what was set to be an emotionally charged day with a brief visit to Amatrice, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Rome.The small mountain town suffered the heaviest losses in the disaster with around two thirds of the quake’s 284 confirmed victims buried under tonnes of collapsed masonry in its devastated centre. PHOTO: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

A mass funeral has taken place in Italy for some of the 290 people killed in Wednesday’s powerful earthquake.

Thirty-five victims from the town of Arquata were mourned at a sports hall in the regional capital, Ascoli Piceno. The coffins, laid out in rows on the floor, included two painted white for two children killed.

The death toll from the quake, which struck a mountainous central region, has again risen as more bodies were found. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among those attending the funeral along with President Sergio Mattarella, who earlier visited Amatrice, the town with the most casualties.

Bishop Giovanni d’Ercole urged those affected not to lose courage. “Together, above all we will restore life to our communities, starting from our traditions and from the rubble of death,” he said.

One of the children’s coffins contained the body of Giulia Rinaldo, whose younger sister survived the earthquake because she was under Giulia’s body. One of the firefighters, Andrea, had left a moving note on Giulia’s coffin, apologising for arriving too late, and signing it with a heart symbol.


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