Woman saved by rescuers as quake toll reaches 250

The death toll in Italy’s earthquake has risen to 250, officials said today, as strong aftershocks caused further fear among residents sheltered in tent camps.

As rescue teams continued searching through the debris for survivors, a young woman was pulled alive from a collapsed building about 42 hours after the main quake struck the mountainous region.

Eleonora Calesini, a 20-year-old student, was found alive yesterday evening in the ruins of the five-story building in central L’Aquila, said her grandfather, Renato Calesini, in the seaside town of Mondaini.

“She’s safe!” he said, adding that her father had gone to the devastated city in the snow-capped Apennine mountains to try to locate the student, who wears a hearing aid. She reportedly had an arm injury but was in good condition otherwise.

The dead included four students trapped in the rubble of a dormitory of the University of L’Aquila.

Rescue crews gave up gingerly removing debris by hand and brought in huge pincers that pulled off parts of the dorm roof, balconies and walls, showering debris down.

“Unless there is a miracle, I’ve been told (by rescuers) that they probably are dead,” university rector Ferdinando Di Orio said.

A strong aftershock at 7.47pm rained debris on screaming residents and rescue crews, who ran from the site.

“I want to go home! I want to go home!” screamed a woman identified only as Patrizia after chunks of facade rained down on them from a badly cracked building.

Her hands trembled as rescue workers gave her a cup of water. Her boyfriend, Agostino Paride, 33, an engineer, said they had driven to L’Aquila from Civitella Rovedo, some 45 miles away, to bring food and clothes to relatives in a tent camp.

To shelter the homeless against another chilly night in the mountains, some 20 tent cities sprouted in open spaces around L’Aquila and surrounding towns.

Field kitchens, medical supplies and clowns with bubbles – to entertain traumatised children – were brought in.

Officials estimated on Monday that 50,000 people had been left homeless by the quake. By yesterday evening, that number was lowered to between 17,000 and 25,000, because many moved in with friends or relatives.

“I don’t know how I’ll make it,” a dazed Pierina Diletti said as she stood in slippers and her nightgown outside her tent.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who visited one of the encampments, said an estimated 14,500 people were being sheltered in the blue tents.

Officials said some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed in the 26 cities, towns and villages around L’Aquila, a picturesque city of 70,000. Teams planned to begin surveying those buildings still standing today to see if residents could move back in.

“The assessment will concern every room, every slit, every crack,” Mr Berlusconi told a news conference, adding that assessments of the region’s prized cultural treasures – churches, monuments and other historical sites - would begin soon.

Mr Berlusconi surveyed the devastated region by helicopter and said rescue efforts would continue for two more days – “until it is certain that there is no one else alive.” At least 100 of about 1,000 injured people were in serious condition, he said.

More on this topic

4.7-magnitude earthquake rattles central Italy4.7-magnitude earthquake rattles central Italy

Quake-devastated Amatrice hit by new aftershockQuake-devastated Amatrice hit by new aftershock

Italy quake was felt in IrelandItaly quake was felt in Ireland

Italy quake damage 'like Dante's inferno' as death toll climbs to 159Italy quake damage 'like Dante's inferno' as death toll climbs to 159


More in this Section

Collapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroadsCollapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroads

Hot dog champions set world records at famous food festHot dog champions set world records at famous food fest

Boris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversaryBoris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversary

Scottish independence support ahead in polls for ‘sustained period,’ expert saysScottish independence support ahead in polls for ‘sustained period,’ expert says


Lifestyle

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

When the ferryman pulls away from the pier and the salty spray of the sea hits your face the feeling of release from the mainland is deeply pleasurable. Your island awaits. Whether for a day trip or a holiday, the lure of the islands is as magnetic as ever.The Islands of Ireland: The lure of the less-visited

More From The Irish Examiner