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Italy rushes aid to quake area

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An immense rescue operation is under way, with hundreds of thousands of workers searching for survivors of an earthquake that hit southern Italy. The Italian Army send field hospitals and kitchens; many fire crews from the north raced south to help; and trucks delivered hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to towns and villages where supplies were disrupted.

Premier Arnaldo Forlani declared the area a "state of natural calamity." The earthquake registered between 6.5 and 6.8 on the Richter scale, the strongest in southern Italy since 1908. Rescue officials worry that more than 1,000 persons may have been killed. the full damage was not yet known, since many hill villages were cut off.

The quake's epicenter was 30 miles southeast of Naples. It was felt as far north as Venice.


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