The ancient Italian town of Amatrice would “have to be razed to the ground” due to damage it suffered in the earthquake, its mayor said. The Italian media reported on a “miraculous” rescue of a little girl in Arquata.
Rescue teams were racing against time on Friday, as hopes faded for finding survivors of the 6.3 magnitude quake in central Italy. The death toll has reached 267 people, and search teams in some locations have already been called off.
The earthquake also left some 2,500 people homeless, forcing them to sleep in emergency tents sent to the area.
“It was quite a tough night because you have a significant change in temperature here. During the day, it is very, very hot and at night it is very, very cold,” said Anna Maria Ciccarelli of Arquata del Tronto.
“There are still aftershocks preceded by booms, and for those of us who have just lived through an earthquake, it has a great effect, particularly psychologically,” she told the Reuters news agency.
Death of Amatrice
The Wednesday earthquake damaged nearly every building in the tourist town of Amatrice, destroying hundreds of culturally significant sites. Most of the structures in the settlement had been built centuries ago.
“Amatrice will have to be razed to the ground,” said Mayor Sergio Pirozzi.
The town was hit by a 4.3 magnitude aftershock on Thursday.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised to rebuild shattered homes and declared a state of emergency in the region allowing the government to release 50 million euros ($56 million) for the relief work.
Protected by older sister
Rescue teams managed to save a four-year-old girl who was trapped under the rubble for 16 hours in nearby Arquata del Tronto, firefighter Massimo Caico told La Repubblica newspaper on Friday.
The firefighter came out to the scene after the girls’ parents were found injured but alive following the quake. Caico said he first found a doll and then a cuddly toy, but could hear no signs of life. In that moment, however, a sniffer dog detected something.
Eventually, the rescuers found the body of the survivor’s sister, and then the little girl herself.
“Her mouth was full of earth, she was completely buried, but she was protected by the body of her older sister, Giulia, who unfortunately we found dead. God knows how she could breathe a little, and that was enough,” Caico said.
First victims of the earthquake were buried on Friday, and Italy plans to hold a state funeral for some 49 victims in the nearby city of Ascoli Piceno. The authorities also declared Saturday a day of national mourning for the deceased.