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Italian PM in housing vow to victims of latest quakes

By Colleen Barry

Published 01/11/2016

A view of a damaged church after a week of quakes in central Italy left thousands homeless (AP)
A view of a damaged church after a week of quakes in central Italy left thousands homeless (AP)

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has pledged to find temporary housing for all those displaced by a series of powerful earthquakes in a central mountainous region.

The promise comes after the strongest quake to hit the country in 36 years left more than 15,000 people needing help.

There were no deaths or serious injuries after Sunday morning's 6.6-magnitude tremor, largely because most fragile city centres had already been closed because of previous damage and many homes had been vacated.

However, it did complicate quake relief efforts in a zone still coping with the aftermath of an August quake that killed nearly 300 in the same region around the Apennine Mountains, and a pair of powerful aftershocks last week.

Civil protection officials expect the number of people needing assistance to continue to rise, as it does not count the many people who slept in vehicles or made other arrangements and are likely to seek help.

"We cannot have tents for some months in the mountains, under the snow," Mr Renzi said.

"There are enough hotels for everyone. But many of our compatriots don't want to leave their lands, not even for some weeks."

There are increasing reports of residents resisting in the belief that if their homes have so far resisted, that they remain the safest place to be.

Mr Renzi said the fact that there were no deaths "gives us enormous relief".

"These villages are the identity of Italy. We must reconstruct them all, quickly and well."

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