The Latest: Italian quake survivors retrieve what they can


AMATRICE, Italy (AP) — The Latest on the earthquake in central Italy (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

Italian firefighters are escorting earthquake survivors back to their homes — temporarily — to get some belongings left behind when they fled the shaking.

Many homes in the three hardest-hit central Italian towns, even if they remain standing, have been declared uninhabitable by rescue crews. But since it looks like residents will be homeless for some time, firefighters are letting them get what they need.

Nello Caffini on Thursday carried the belongings of his sister-in-law, Maria Pia, on his head as he left the home in the small town of Pescara del Tronto.

He said they slept in the car Wednesday night even though he has a home in nearby Ascoli. The quake that struck central Italy early Wednesday has killed at least 241 people and aftershocks have rattled the area.

Caffini says “If she feels calmer, we will go back to Ascoli.”

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3:10 p.m.

A strong aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 has hit an earthquake-struck area in Italy, causing more damage to buildings in a town nearly destroyed a day earlier.

The aftershock caused one building to partially collapse, sending up plumes of smoke and panic in Amatrice.

Wednesday’s earthquake killed at least 241 people in Amatrice and other towns in central Italy.

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1:40 p.m.

Civil protection officials have revised down the death toll from the earthquake in central Italy to 241 after one of the hard-hit areas adjusted its figures.

Operations chief Immacolata Postiglione said the toll was lowered from the 247 she had reported earlier Thursday due to a revision from the area of Arquata in Le Marche region.

The vast majority of the victims, 195, are from Amatrice and Accumuli in the Lazio region closer to Rome.

She stressed that the number remains provisional and that the search continues.

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1:20 p.m.

A Polish woman who survived the earthquake in central Italy says she will never forget the “evil murmur of moving walls.”

Ewa Szwaja told Polish TVN24 Thursday that she and her husband were woken in the town Amatrice by tremors and a “terrible noise.” She grabbed her 4-year-old son, wrapped him for warmth and the family escaped through the balcony.

“We knew it was an earthquake,” she said. “I will remember till the end of my life this noise, the evil murmur of moving walls.”

She said neighbors Sergio and Assunta and their 13-year-old grandson didn’t survive.

She said: “The house in front had collapsed and we stepped from the balcony onto the rubble. The bedroom of our neighbors did not exist anymore.”

–This item has been corrected to show that the woman’s surname is Szwaja, not Szwajak.

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1 p.m.

Romania’s foreign ministry says that five Romanians have died, and 11 are missing in the earthquake in Italy, updating earlier figures.

Ionut Valcu, foreign ministry spokesman, said Thursday that four Romanians were being treated for injuries in hospitals He did not provide details on the identity of those who died or were injured.

Romania consular officials have traveled to the area, are visiting the hospitals and are in touch with the families of those affected. Earlier, officials said two Romanians had died and eight were missing.

Media reports say some 8,000 Romanians live in the area in central Italy where the quake struck early Wednesday.

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11:35 a.m.

Italy’s culture ministry has decreed that proceeds from public museums across Italy this Sunday will be dedicated to helping restore damaged buildings in the quake zone.

Several churches and other medieval-era buildings were damaged or destroyed in the 6-magnitude quake that struck central Italy.

In a statement Thursday, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini urged Italians to go out in force on Sunday to visit museums and Italy’s numerous archaeological sites “in a concrete sign of solidarity” with quake victims.

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11:30 a.m.

Spain’s foreign ministry says at least one Spaniard has died in the earthquake in central Italy.

The ministry said that it could give no further details regarding the victim.

Italian rescue crews were racing against time looking for survivors from the earthquake that leveled three towns in central Italy on Wednesday. The death toll has risen to 247.

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11 a.m.

Romania’s foreign ministry says two Romanians have died, and eight are missing after the earthquake in Italy.

Ministry spokesman Ionut Valcu said Thursday that four Romanians were being treated for injuries in hospitals He did not provide details on the identity of those who died or were injured.

Romania consular officials have traveled to the area, are visiting hospitals and are in touch with the families of those affected.

Media reports say about 8,000 Romanians live in the area in central Italy where the quake struck early Wednesday.

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6:30 a.m.

Italian authorities say that the death toll from Wednesday’s earthquake in the central part of the country has risen to 247.

The civil protection agency gave the updated figure early Thursday, about 27 hours after the earthquake struck. The tremors reduced three towns to rubble and sparked urgent search efforts.

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5:40 a.m.

Residents in a central Italian region devastated by an earthquake have been jolted awake by a strong aftershock.

The U.S. Geological Survey put its magnitude at 4.7 with the epicenter about 7 kilometers east of Norcia, with a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). The latest temblor struck at about 5:40 am Thursday.

Norcia, which is about 170 kilometers (105 miles) northwest of Rome, was the epicenter of Wednesday morning’s 6.2 earthquake that leveled the central Italian towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto, and killed at least 159 people.

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2:30 a.m.

Italian rescue workers are expecting fewer casualties than initially feared at the site of a hotel that was badly damaged in Wednesday’s earthquake.

Officials initially said about 70 people had been staying at the Hotel Roma in the central Italian town of Amatrice when the quake struck.

But an official with Italy’s civil protection agency, Luigi d’Angelo, told Sky TG24 that about 35 people had been staying at the hotel, and most had managed to get out. Carlo Cardinali, a local fire official taking part in the search efforts at the hotel, estimated that about 10 guests were missing.

Five bodies have been pulled from the rubble.

Workers had been forced to suspend their search at the hotel, though overnight searches for earthquake survivors were continuing elsewhere.

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12:30 a.m.

Among the victims of an earthquake in Italy was an 18-month-old girl whose mother survived the deadly earthquake of 2009 in nearby L’Aquila and moved away from there after that terrible experience.

The news agency ANSA reported that the toddler, Marisol Piermarini, was sleeping in her bed in the family’s vacation home in Arquata del Tronto when the quake struck early Wednesday.

Her mother, Martina Turco, survived the earthquake that struck L’Aquila, killing more than 300 people. Now she is being treated in a hospital after being pulled from the rubble as the family mourns the death of the little girl.

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