Italy earthquake toll passes 200

By Deepa Babington and Antonella Cinelli

L'AQUILA, Italy (Reuters) - The death toll from a devastating earthquake in central Italy rose to 207 on Tuesday and aftershocks hampered the race to dig possible survivors out of the debris.

Rescuers worked under floodlights through the night and thousands of people whose homes were wrecked sheltered in tents and cars.

"The hope of finding anyone under the rubble now is very small," said a civil protection agency official at a camp set up outside L'Aquila, the historic mountain city shattered by the quake.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said 207 people were now confirmed as dead in the worst quake to strike Italy in 30 years. Of some 1,500 people injured, about 100 were in serious condition.

The new aftershocks struck fear into people, with residents running out of tents screaming and crying after a particularly strong tremor. Buildings shook and masonry fell onto the streets but no new injuries were reported.

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Created by Laura 38 weeks 5 days ago – Made popular 38 weeks 5 days ago
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Italy Muzzled Scientist Who Predicted Quake

By Gavin Jones

ROME, April 6 (Reuters) - An Italian scientist predicted a major earthquake around L'Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on Monday, killing more than 90 people, but was reported to authorities for spreading panic.

The government on Monday insisted the warning, by seismologist Giacchino Giuliani, had no scientific foundation.

The first tremors in the region were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the medieval city, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome.

Vans with loudspeakers drove around the town a month ago telling locals to evacuate their houses after Giuliani, from the National Institute of Astrophysics, predicted a large quake was on the way, prompting the mayor's anger.

Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for "spreading alarm" and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.

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Dozens Dead And Thousands Left Homeless By Italy Earthquake

At least 27 people, including five children were killed when an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale destroyed hundreds of homes in central Italy early this morning.

Scores more are missing after the earthquake struck at 3.32am (0132 GMT) near l'Aquila in the mountainous region of Abruzzo 60 miles (95 kilometres) north of Rome.

Dawn revealed a scene of devastation in the town, the epicentre of the earthquake, as rubble blocked the streets and rescue workers desperately searched for survivors in the ruins of the collapsed buildings.

The death toll rose through the night and is expected to keep rising, according to police.

At least half a dozen university students remain trapped after their dormitory in l'Aquila was destroyed, according to Italy's RAI TV. A student who was not named told RAI they were awakened by the earthquake and ran down the stairs of the dormitory before the roof collapsed.

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