Italy earthquake: Reconstruction begins as in the grief stricken town of Amatrice

Bulldozers with huge claws and other heavy equipment clanked down the streets of Italy's quake-devastated town of Amatrice on Sunday, pulling down dangerously overhanging ledges and clearing rubble as investigators tried to figure out if negligence in enforcing building codes added to the high death toll

Pulaha Roy August 28, 2016 16:49:31 IST
Italy earthquake: Reconstruction begins as in the grief stricken town of Amatrice

Amatrice: Bulldozers with huge claws and other heavy equipment clanked down the streets of Italy's quake-devastated town of Amatrice on Sunday, pulling down dangerously overhanging ledges and clearing rubble as investigators tried to figure out if negligence in enforcing building codes added to the high death toll.

Italy's state museums, meanwhile, embarked on a fundraising campaign, donating their proceeds on Sunday to relief and reconstruction efforts in the earthquake zone.

Italy earthquake Reconstruction begins as in the grief stricken town of Amatrice

This still image taken from video shows the destruction in Amatrice, central Italy, where a 6.1 earthquake struck just after 3:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. AP Photo

In addition to killing 291 people and injuring hundreds, Wednesday's 6.2 magnitude quake flattened three medieval towns in central Italy, destroying not only private homes but also churches and other centuries-old cultural treasures.

The idea is to use art for art harnessing the nation's rich artistic heritage to help recover and restore other objects of beauty in the hard-hit towns.

Culture Minster Dario Franceschini had appealed to Italians to "go to museum in a sign of solidarity with people affected by the earthquake." On Twitter, the appeal came along with the hashtag #museums4italy.

It's one of several efforts that have sprung up to help the towns rebuild restaurants in Italy and elsewhere are also serving up pasta Amatriciana, the region's most famous dish, in another fundraising effort.

Amatrice bore the brunt of destruction with 230 fatalities and a town turned to rubble. Eleven others died in nearby Accumoli and 50 more in Arquata del Tronto, 16 kilometres north of Amatrice.

Overnight was relatively calm, the first since the quake struck without strong aftershocks. In all, the region has seen 1,820 aftershocks, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

On Saturday, mourners prayed, hugged, wept and even applauded as coffins carrying earthquake victims passed by at a state funeral in the town of Ascoli Piceno.

The caskets of 35 people had been brought to a community gym one of the few structures in the area still intact. The local bishop, Giovanni D'Ercole, celebrated Mass beneath a crucifix he had retrieved from one of the damaged churches.

Emotions that had been dammed up for days broke in a crescendo of grief. One young man wept over a little girl's white coffin. Another woman gently stroked another small casket. Many mourners were recovering from injuries themselves, some wrapped in bandages. Everywhere people knelt at coffins, tears running down their cheeks, their arms around loved ones.

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