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Italian PM Unveils Plans to Rebuild Quake-hit Region

  • VOA News

The tower of the Church of the Madonna of the Angels (Madonna degli Angeli) is still standing amidst rubble near Norcia, central Italy, after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck central Italy, Oct. 30, 2016.

The tower of the Church of the Madonna of the Angels (Madonna degli Angeli) is still standing amidst rubble near Norcia, central Italy, after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck central Italy, Oct. 30, 2016.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi unveiled plans Monday to rebuild large swaths of mountainous central Italy, ravaged by the region's worst earthquake since 1980. Among the key provisions is the promise to provide shipping containers for people to live in while permanent housing is constructed.

Renzi spoke in Rome, as the scope of Sunday's 6.6 magnitude quake became evident, and as emergency workers scrambled to provide immediate aid to thousands of residents already traumatized by smaller temblors last week. The same region was hit 10 weeks ago by a deadly quake that killed hundreds in the small town of Amatrice.

"We will rebuild everything," Renzi vowed, describing the culturally significant areas northeast of Rome as "territories of beauty."

FILE - An aerial view of the destroyed hilltop town of Amatrice after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck central Italy, Oct. 30, 2016.

FILE - An aerial view of the destroyed hilltop town of Amatrice after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck central Italy, Oct. 30, 2016.

No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, largely because so many residents of the region were relocated after the August 24 earthquake that rocked Amatrice, authorities say. However, an estimated 15,000 were left homeless.

The epicenter of Sunday's quake was 70 kilometers southwest of the central city of Perugia and close to the town of Norcia, where already skittish residents saw churches and the 14th century Basilica of St. Benedict heavily damaged Sunday. A historic cathedral known for its 15th century frescoes also was destroyed.

An estimated 4,000 people in and around Norcia have been relocated to hotels on the Adriatic coast, where they joined more than 1,000 others still displaced by the Amatrice quake in August.

Renzi said the shipping containers will be in place by December, and he said residents can expect to have new wooden house construction completed by mid-2017.

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