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A deadly earthquake hit northern Italy on Tuesday, May 29, just nine days after the 6.0-magnitude earthquake killed seven and left thousands of residents living in tents, cars and shelters.
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook up the Emilia Romagna region Tuesday morning killed 17 and injured 200 others. The quake and dozens of aftershocks that went on throughout the night caused the amount of homeless residents to rise from 6,000 to 14,000. Churches, historic buildings and homes were affected by the earthquake, while most modern structured buildings were not damaged.
Several factory deaths added to the death toll. This brings rise to the question: why couldn’t the factories withstand the earthquake as most modern buildings in the area were able to? Investigators are set to examine how the factories were built and why they couldn’t stand up against an earthquake of Tuesday morning’s magnitude. ‘They should have remained standing, as they were modern buildings,’ Vito Zincani, Modena’s chief prosecutor, told CNN.
Rescue workers called off the search after pulling the last of the 17 bodies from the rubble that was left of the Haematronic factory in the town of Medolla, the same factory where three others were found dead from the quake on Tuesday.
At a meeting held Wednesday, May 30, Italian ministers have decided on several measures including declaring a state of emergency, and determining that June 4 will be a day of mourning. To try to reboot the economy, the government is suspending taxes in the areas affected and lowering interest rates on loans from now through the end of September. According to the press release declaring the state of emergency from the government, the cost of reconstruction will also be partly funded by a fuel cost increase. The fuel cost will be increased immediately by 0.02 EUR per liter.
“Reconstruction will begin quickly and will be done well,” said Vasco Errani, the head of the Emilia Romagna region.
After the first quake, Culture Minister Lorenzo Ornaghi said it was too early to give a full assessment of the damage, but a list of sites affected in the Emilia Romagna region is being drawn up. The cultural cost was “considerable.” But soon after the second one on Tuesday, insurers say the two quakes are totaling an estimated cost between 100 million and 700 million EUR to cover the damages.
The government has hopes that everyone will see the state of emergency for national funding at this time and is looking to be sure the Italian economy in the affected area returns to normal as soon as possible.