Italy united 'by pain, memory' of earthquake, president says

27 dead, thousands homeless after round of quakes year ago

Italy united 'by pain, memory' of earthquake, president says

Rome, May 20 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Monday said the country was united by the pain and the memory of the devastating earthquake that struck the northern Emilia-Romagna region a year ago on this day. "Tragedies of this kind inflict a serious wound on the entire country, which must unite itself in the pain and in the memory," said Napolitano in a statement. The quake, which struck just after 4:00 AM Italian time, measured a magnitude of 5.9 and was followed by a 5.8-magnitude quake on May 29. These and their aftershocks killed a total of 27 people, injured several hundred and left thousands homeless. The economy in the area, long a powerhouse of Italian industrial output, also suffered a huge blow, and many buildings today remain in ruin. "In the certainty that the same spirit will continue to give life to the reconstruction effort, I express my closeness to all the stricken communities and all Italians," Napolitano added.

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