Rescue workers remove last body from Italian quake rubble, toll rises to 17

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: May 30, 2012 - 1:33 AM

MIRANDOLA, Italy - Rescue crews have removed the last body of a worker buried beneath a collapsed factory, bringing the toll in the second deadly quake to hit Italy's Emilia region to 17.

Tuesday's magnitude 5.8 temblor felled old buildings and new factories and warehouses in a swath of Italy north of Bologna that was still recovering from a stronger quake 9 days before. That quake measured 6.0 and killed seven, mostly workers.

Crews on Wednesday pulled the last body from the rubble of a factory in the town of Medolla. Three others also died in the structure. Civil Protection authorities in Rome say no one else is known missing.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Rescue workers on Wednesday searched for one person still unaccounted for in the second deadly earthquake to hit northern Italy's Emilia region this month as the government began taking measures to rebuild an area so crucial to Italy's economic health.

Sixteen people were killed Tuesday in the magnitude-5.8 temblor that felled old buildings as well as new factories and warehouses in a swath of Italy north of Bologna.

The quake dealt another blow to one of the country's most productive regions at a time when Italy is struggling to restart its anemic economy and avoid Europe's debt crisis. Italy's economic growth has been stagnant for at least a decade, and the national economy is forecast to contract by 1.2 percent this year.

The area encompassing the cities of Modena, Mantua and Bologna is prized for its super car production, churning out Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis; its world-famous Parmesan cheese, and less well-known but critical to the economy — its machinery companies.

The ground continued to shake through the night, rattling the nerves of residents who were still struggling to come to terms with the stronger 6.0-magnitude quake that struck the area May 20. Many spent the night in tent camps or their cars, too afraid to sleep at home.

Premier Mario Monti has promised the government would do whatever is necessary to rebuild a region so important to the country's economic health. He was chairing a Cabinet meeting early Wednesday aimed at directing reconstruction assistance to the area.

In the tent camp, the needs were more basic though perhaps more profound.

"I had a psychological breakdown," said Annalisa Caiazzo, 34, from Mirandola near Modena as she began her day in a makeshift tent camp. "After so many aftershocks, I did not expect that everything would have restarted again. We are all collapsed."

Civil protection coordinator Carmine Lizza said counselors were on hand to help calm the rattled nerves of residents who have lived through two terrifying quakes in a month in an area not considered particularly quake-prone.

"They will need weeks to recover, because the earthquake is a deep wound and has consequences for weeks," Lizza said.

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