TRAVEL GAZETTE – The death toll in the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy Wednesday morning has risen to 290, said the Civil Protection agency on Saturday.
Six more bodies were recovered from the rubble of Amatrice, increasing the death toll in the worst-hit town to 230, while the number of victims in Accumoli and Arquato del Tronto remained 11 and 49 respectively.
Overnight, the area was rattled again by a series of aftershocks. The strongest, at 4.50 a.m. (0250 GMT), had a magnitude of 4.0, according to the Italian geophysics institute.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Saturday attended the mass funeral for the 35 victims in Ascoli Piceno, the capital of the Marche region.
Dozens of caskets were lined up in a cavernous gymnasium in Ascoli Piceno. People bid farewell to loved ones, kneeling, crying and placing their hands on flower-covered caskets.
Mattarella, during his visit to Amatrice, met and thanked rescue workers who have been working since early Wednesday to save people trapped in rubble and recover the dead, reported State TV Rai.
Italy has declared Aug. 27 a national day of mourning and flags in public places are flown at half-mast to commemorate the lives lost.
Funerals for the victims of Amatrice and Accumoli will be held on Aug. 30, according to Rai.