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Tens of Thousands Homeless in Italy Quake


Tens of thousands of Italians are homeless after a powerful earthquake destroyed much of the historic central town of L'Aquila.

The death toll was at 150 Monday with 1,500 injured. Damage is reported as far away as Rome, about 100 kilometers to the south.

Rescuers spent the day pulling survivors out of the rubble. Some survivors sobbed, happy to be alive even after losing their homes and most of their possessions.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised that no one will be abandoned. He canceled a planned trip to Russia and declared a state of emergency in the Abruzzo region, where several towns are believed to have been totally destroyed.

Italian police chief Antonio Maganelli said police have arrested several looters picking through abandoned houses -- a situation he calls sad.

U.S. scientists measured the quake at magnitude 6.3, while Italian seismologists measured it at 5.8.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent condolences and the embassy in Rome sent $50,000 in emergency aid. Pope Benedict prayed at the Vatican for the dead and the injured. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev responded with an offer of Russian help.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman says he is saddened by the deaths and destruction. He alerted Italian authorities that the U.N. is ready to send in disaster relief.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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