Torrential rain lashed earthquake-stricken southern Italy on Thursday (27 November), hampering rescue and relief operations, while the death toll from Sunday's (23 November) quake continued to rise.
GV EXTERIOR Red Cross tents set up on football pitch at Sant Angelo dei Lombardi
GV Medical supplies, water and food being unloaded from Red Cross trucks (3 shots)
SV AND GV People standing in line for food, and food being distributed (3 shots)
GV Families huddled together at Red Cross camp
GV Man walking through rubble PULL BACK Relief workers digging in debris
CU AND SV Rescue workers digging in rubble in Balvano recovering bodies and placing them into waiting ambulance (3 shots)
GV PAN Bodies being placed in coffin in Sant Angelo
GV Coffin being carried into cemetery
GV Man digging grave in cemetery
GV Bodies in plastic bags lying in cemetery
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Background: Torrential rain lashed earthquake-stricken southern Italy on Thursday (27 November), hampering rescue and relief operations, while the death toll from Sunday's (23 November) quake continued to rise. Police said 2,843 people had been killed and almost 8,000 injured, with almost 15-hundred people still unaccounted for. An estimated quarter of a million people have been made homeless.
SYNOPSIS: For some of the homeless, the Red Cross has set up a tent city in Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi, one of a hundred towns devastated by the quake. Medical supplies, water and food were being brought to the relief centre for the displaced thousands. The West German government has joined in the relief operation by sending special air force planes to Naples carrying blankets and medical supplies.
On this day, supplies at the relief centre were scarce, and the lines of homeless waiting for their handouts, long. Torrential rain and storms have set off landslides, blocking the narrow mountain roads into the disaster area, and thousands of vehicles carrying blankets, tents, food, clothes and medicine were halted on their way to relief centres. One rescue official said that some of the earthquake victims were still isolated, without light or water.
The earthquake has broken up families and spread despair among the survivors. For many, their lives crumbled in the ruins of collapsed buildings and devastated towns. The search continued with little chance of people being found alive, though the debris still concealed many crushed victims.
Some rescue workers considered it too early to give a final death toll, since may places were still inaccessible, and each day bodies were being recovered from the rubble. They feared the number of dead could rise above 3,000. The emergency services were finding it difficult to cope with the sheer number of victims, a grim point highlighted by reports of overflowing cemeteries throughout the earthquake region.
In Sant'Angelo, dozens of bodies awaited burial at the local cemetery. Students were helping to dig graves and carry the coffins for burial.
Meanwhile, concern for the survivors continued to rise. There have been allegations that relief services were slow to get started, prompting Italy's Interior Minister to resign -- an act that was rejected by President Sandro Pertini. However, the President said there had been shortcomings, and the offenders would be punished.