Italy: Avalanche death toll rises as quake-hit Italians protest

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By Euronews
Italy: Avalanche death toll rises as quake-hit Italians protest

More bodies have been found in the buried ruins of a hotel in central Italy, razed by an avalanche a week ago today.

It takes the death toll this Wednesday to 25.

A further four people remain missing but despite the efforts of rescue workers, hopes of finding anyone else alive from the rubble of Hotel Rigopiano are fading fast.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the tragedy on Jan. 18. The avalanche followed heavy snow storms and powerful earthquakes.

Many guests at the hotel wanted to return home but were unable to leave because the access road was blocked by snow.

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said he would launch an emergency decree next week and add to money already set aside to rebuild after the area was devastated by tremors last year.

His government has earmarked 4 billion euros in this year’s budget and Gentiloni said he had told Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission which oversees national finances, that they would allocate more.

“It is up to us to make sure that once the disaster is past, further injustice is not created,” he told parliament.

But as he spoke, hundreds of people from Italy’s quake-hit zones were protesting in Rome.

They say red tape is delaying reconstruction efforts in the central regions hit by a series of violent earthquakes, starting in August, when some 300 people were killed, most of them in the town of Amatrice.

with Reuters