family, friends consumed by grief bury the first 35 victims of the
earthquake in Ascoli Piceno, the capital of the Marche region. Italian
President Sergio Mattarella, Senate President Pietro Grasso, Lower
Chamber President Laura Boldrini and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi also
attended the funeral service.
of flower-covered caskets were lined up in a gymnasium as people bid
farewell to loved ones, kneeling, crying inconsolably and placing their
hands on the caskets. Hundreds more stood silently outside, others
hugged each other as Giovanni D’Ercole, the Bishop of Ascoli, implored
them not to lose faith.
“Don’t be afraid to scream your suffering,
but do not lose courage. Together we will rebuild our houses and
churches. together, above all, we will give life back to our
communities…the village bells will ring once again.”
toll in the 6.2-magnitude earthquake stands at 291 people as worst-hit
town, Amatrice had a total of 230 residents and tourists dead. At least
387 people are in hospital. Three more bodies were pulled from the
town’s Hotel Roma overnight and there are fears yet more bodies will be
Italian magistrates have opened investigations into some of the incidents.
happened cannot just be considered fate,’ said prosecutor Giuseppe
Saieva, who is leading the probe. ‘If these buildings had been
constructed like they are in Japan then they would not have collapsed,”
he told La Repubblica Newspaper.
At least 16 foreigners died, 10 Romanians, 3 Britons and one each from Canada, El Salvador and Spain.