News from Rome Italy

7 April 2009

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has so far rejected outside help after Italy's worst earthquake in 30 years. Berlusconi said 207 people were now confirmed as dead. Of some 1,500 people injured, about 100 were in serious condition.

Shell shocked survivors of central Italy’s devastating earthquake around L’Alquila are finding the strength to recall their ordeal to the local and international press. Aid has not reached everyone yet but many so far admit they are 'just lucky to be alive'. Thousands of people have been left homeless, many of them now living in make-shift tents, but some with no accommodation at all.

Many Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance landmarks have been damaged, including part of the basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio. The bell tower of the 16th-century San Bernardino church and the cupola of the Baroque Sant'Agostino church also fell, the Culture Ministry said.

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