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Natural disasters

Renzi promises earthquake region will be rebuilt

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised to rebuild the region devastated by an earthquake earlier this week. He also urged wary residents to accept relocation and leave their damaged homes.

Renzi, who was visiting a quake-flattened area around the medieval town of Norcia, warned that the reconstruction effort would take time, but he vowed it would be thorough.

"I'm here to say that it won't be easy, it will take a long time... but little by little everything will be rebuilt," Renzi told residents as he visited the village of Preci.

Although it did not cause any deaths, Sunday's 6.6-magnitude earthquake was the most powerful to hit Italy in 36 years, leaving some 22,000 people homeless.

Renzi urged people to accept offers of relocation and temporary housing, stressing the police presence had been increased to avoid looting. He said tents were not a long-term solution in winter.

Thousands are presently sleeping under canvas or in emergency shelters, with others living in cars and aboard trains.

Many have refused to leave damaged villages and towns, despite numerous aftershocks and the risk of another large earthquake. Farmers have said they do not want to abandon their livestock, while many in more built-up areas are afraid their damaged empty homes might be burgled.

Aftershocks and grim memories

Residents' nerves have been severely test by aftershocks from the quake, which came more than two months after an earthquake in the central Italian town of Amatrice that killed nearly 300 people.

Italien Renzi besucht Erbeben-Region (picture alliance/dpa/T. Barchielli)

Renzi said people in the affected areas should accept offers of relocation and temporary housing

Italian seismic institute INGV said a powerful aftershock early Tuesday had a magnitude of 4.8. The tremor was one of the almost 20 recent aftershocks that have registered a magnitude of 4 or higher.

Authorities are also counting the cost of damage to historic monuments. The quake damaged architectural landmarks such as the Abbey of Sant'Eutizio, which is one of the oldest monastic sites in Italy. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has promised there will be an effort to piece back together every damaged fresco.

Damage has even been reported in Rome, some 110 kilometers (70 miles) south-west of Norcia.

rc/msh (AFP, AP, dpa )

 

 

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