Italian quake toll reaches 179 (Second Lead)

April 7th, 2009 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, April 7 (DPA) The death toll from an earthquake that struck central Italy in the pre-dawn hours of Monday has risen to 179, reported officials from the battered town of L’Aquila.
Of the dead, 40 bodies still need to be identified. An additional 34 people are missing more than 24 hours after the earthquake, which registered between 5.8 and 6.2 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake, which struck about 100 km north-east of Rome, has left an additional 1,500 injured and tens of thousands homeless. Many people opted to sleep in their cars Monday night.

Additionally, the region’s hilly landscape continues to make rescue operations difficult, as do ongoing aftershocks.

About 280 aftershocks have been reported since the initial quake, one of which reached a magnitude of 4.8 Tuesday morning.

The 2,000 rescue workers in L’Aquila have reported some successes, despite their race against time. About 24 hours after the quake, rescuers found a 24-year-old student still alive in her bed, debris from the quake having missed her by centimetres.

But there was also much bad news. The small town of Onna reported that 39 of its 250 residents had died in the quake.

Offers of aid continued to pour into Italy, the most recent one from Taiwan.

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