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Italy Continues Quake Rescue Effort


Rescuers in central Italy continue to search for possible survivors in the rubble of Monday's earthquake as funerals begin for the victims of the disaster. So far, the death toll is 279, which includes at least 20 children. Local and government authorities have introduced anti-looting patrols in the quake-stricken area to protect the belongings of displaced residents.

The earth continues to shake in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, already devastated by Monday's early morning earthquake. Every new aftershock terrifies the thousands living in the many tent cities set up by Italy's civil protection department.

Rescue workers continue to work tirelessly in an effort to find any possible survivors, which may be trapped in the rubble. But no one has been pulled out alive since Tuesday night.

Heavy machinery and sniffer dogs are being used. One firefighter explains how useful the dogs can be.

He says that in an emergency dogs are really man's best friend. They run dangers that man cannot run. They can reach places which man cannot. Dogs have 6,000 receptors in their nose and manage to smell odors that we do not even suspect.

The whole of the historic center of l'Aquila has been closed to the public following the most recent after-shocks for fear of new collapses. Government and local authorities have introduced anti-looting patrols in the area to protect the belonging of displaced residents.

One woman says she left behind her whole life. She says that when it ends, if God wishes, she will return to her home. What else can one do?

Some families have already started holding private funeral services for the victims of the quake. A mass funeral for between 100 and 150 of those who were killed will be held Friday in l'Aquila.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, will preside over the mass, which required a special dispensation because mass is not usually celebrated on Good Friday.

Meanwhile at the Vatican, Pope Benedict celebrated a Holy Thursday Mass that included the traditional blessing of holy oils, some of which the church will send to the earthquake zone. The pope has said he plans to tour the quake-stricken area after Easter Sunday.

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