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 Italy mourns quake victims

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Dawnie
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PostSubject: Italy mourns quake victims   Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:57 am

A state funeral for the victims of Italy's worst earthquake in three
decades has been held as the death toll from Monday's disaster reached
287.

Nearly 200 wooden coffins, many of them
covered by bouquets of flowers and photos of the dead, were laid out in
four rows on the parade ground of a police academy in L'Aquila, the
worst hit by Monday's 6.3 magnitude quake.

Relatives
of the victims arrived from early in the morning for the funeral, some
kissing the coffins or sitting before them in silent prayer.

Several small white caskets, containing the bodies of children, sat on top of their mothers' coffins.

Piero
Faro, who came to pay his respects to family friend Paola Pugliesi, 65,
who died with her son Giuseppe, 45, said: "There is a lot of sadness
today, but also a lot of anger. Their building simply disintegrated.
This should not have happened."

Rescue efforts
were drawing to an end as hopes faded of pulling more survivors from
the rubble. "The search is almost over," said Luca Spoletini, spokesman
for the Civil Protection agency, which is coordinating Italy's response
to the crisis.

Violent aftershocks continued
through the night in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, damaging
buildings in medieval towns and terrifying the 17,000 people living in
tent villages. Thousands more survivors are being put up in hotels.

The
government declared a national day of mourning. Flags were flown at
half mast and in Rome many shops and businesses displayed signs saying
they would close during the funeral.

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