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NEW: A state of emergency was declared for affected areas
Strong aftershock hits Amatrice
Rescue workers are racing to find survivors amid the rubble
A girl who endured nearly 17 hours in the rubble after this week’s earthquake has undergone surgery and is doing well, Italian national news agency ANSA said late Thursday.
After mostly pulling bodies from the rubble, rescue crews in Pescara del Tronto were overjoyed Wednesday evening to hear what sounded like the cries of a survivor.
“Quiet! Quiet,” they said, getting closer to the source of the sound.
The scene was captured on video by CNN affiliate Sky TG24.
A firefighter clawed at the debris, trying to get to her. “Come on. … Come on. Slowly, slowly. Mind her head,” they said to one another as onlookers applauded in support.
Suddenly there was a foot, a leg, and then the other leg.
The girl, later identified as 8-year-old Giorgia, was finally pulled out with great care to a rousing cheer. The body of her sister, 10, was next to her, ANSA said.
Rescuers are desperate to find anyone who might miraculously have survived this week’s quake that killed at least 250 people and injured more than 360 others in central Italy.
The Italian Council of Ministers approved a state of emergency for the regions affected by the earthquake Thursday, allocating 50 million euros of emergency funding.
A 4.1 magnitude aftershock on Thursday shook aid workers as they sorted through debris in the afternoon sun in the town of Amatrice, one of many tremors to have followed Wednesday morning’s 6.2-magnitude quake that reduced villages to rubble.
A CNN crew in Amatrice was filming in front of a house when the structure partially collapsed, and others around it were completely flattened.
“People were just running onto the roads away from buildings in a panic. We saw our cameras shaking, and journalists here too were panicking,” said CNN producer Margot Haddad.
It was more bad news for rescuers, who have been desperately combing through mountains of rubble for a second day. Wednesday’s quake blocked off narrow streets in ancient towns, making the rescue operation extremely difficult.