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Very Strong Tremor Hits Southern Italy

Aired November 1, 2002 - 10:11   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news going, so I'm going to have to cut you off a little bit. We want to go to Southern Italy, where we're getting word here at CNN that there has been another tremor, this the site of the school that collapsed taking the lives of so many schoolchildren.
Our Delia Gallagher is standing by in Southern Italy with the latest.

Delia, go ahead, please.


Well, just about five, 10 seconds ago, as we were waiting to go on and tell you this has ended, this investigation, because all the victims are now dead, there was another earthquake, very strong. I don't know how large it was. But there is a building in front of me, and you can see behind me the gymnasium where the bodies of those 27 dead children are, all of the relatives have come out, all of the news crews that are up here on the hill are being advised to move. All of the fire equipment that was moving out. You can hear the helicopters behind me, are now coming back to the scene. It was very strong, lots of moving buildings and material falling.

So the situation has, once again, it was very quiet and now has turned into a lot of chaos at this moment -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Delia, before we do anything, I just want to make sure, are you in a safe place, and can we keep you there for a couple minutes without endangering you or the crew?

GALLAGHER: Nobody is telling us to move at this time, Daryn. So we are going to stay put. The rescue teams are coming back. The main story was that all of the victims are now confirmed dead. That was confirmed to me just a few minutes ago by the police chief here. There were three victims that they were hoping to still find in the rubble. They are confirmed dead. That brings the total to 27 children dead, 35 that have survived.

What you're hearing now are the police coming back, ambulances, because it might be the case that there are now injuries here -- Daryn.

KAGAN: That is such sad and tragic news, indeed.

Delia, in terms of other buildings in the area, it wasn't just a school that was endangered and had a problem? I understand there are a number of homeless people now?

GALLAGHER: Well, the people have left their homes, because they were afraid. But really, the only building that collapsed was the school. So I don't know now, with this second tremor, it felt fairly strong to me. I'm going to go for a 4 point something. Maybe there is more damage.

You have to understand, in this town, Daryn, a lot of the buildings are not even built. The one that I'm standing in front of is still not built, and there are lots of bricks that are loose. So they're easily falling all around us.

KAGAN: And I think we do need to -- Delia, we need to explain a little bit about where you are standing. We keep seeing a number of people walk past you, some looking frantic. I think we saw a nun walk past you. So if you can -- and walk right no front of the camera, as the case might be.

GALLAGHER: Well, Daryn, the situation is really chaotic here. It was very quiet up to about two minutes ago. They're going to start moving us out fairly shortly, probably. Many people here are terrified. They've already lived through one earthquake, and we've just felt another one.

What you see behind me is the gymnasium, which is a makeshift morgue, where all of the family members were inside, until the earthquake started, and then they all ran outside. People started running and screaming, as you do in an earthquake, but there's really nowhere to go here. There's a bill field behind me. A lot of us ran down the hill, but there are many loose buildings and bricks, and it is not a stable situation.

The possibility, of course, of other aftershocks is also quite likely. So this has been the strongest one since yesterday's earthquake at 11:30. There were some aftershocks yesterday, but nothing that we felt of this magnitude just a few minutes ago.

I think more you're seeing the people coming out here that are probably family members that are very afraid. I think that is a lot of fear, on top of all of their grief, Daryn. It's really a tremendous situation here.

KAGAN: Understandable. If we could just go back to the original story here, because so much of the world was concerned about the story, because of the children who were trapped. And as you said, now they've confirmed that everybody who they thought was in there, that they were trying to rescue, they've now called that off, believing that everybody who was trapped inside has, indeed, died. So I think the numbers at the beginning, you were talking about 27 children died in this tragic collapse of the school in southern Italy?

GALLAGHER: That's right. Let me give you the numbers exactly -- 62 people were inside the school yesterday when it collapsed; 35 have survived; 27 of whom there will be one teacher and 26 young children, are now confirmed dead. There are two other deaths, but they are related also to the earthquake, but not in the school. They are in surrounding towns, and may not have been directly related to a collapsing building.

The focus here is on this building and why it collapsed, Daryn. This is really only the beginning of a very big story for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian government to answer the questions of the people here in San Guiliano, as to why this building, constructed in 1954, was the only building in this town to collapse, and to collapse in such a drastic manner. That was the question that many people put to the prime minister last night, when he visited the site.

Now, interestingly, today, we were told that the minister of the interior would come to start an investigation. He did not come today. So we anticipate in the next few days that we'll be hearing a lot more about this building and about this town -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, Delia Gallagher, we'll be checking back with you, but we think this is a good time for you and the crew to get to a better place that is safer and some of the folks that can get out of the way, we can get out of their way as well, and we'll check back with you in the next hour. Delia Gallagher in Southern Italy, thank you so much.

Bringing us the tragic story involving those children. As she were telling, the death toll now 27, most of those young children inside that school in southern Italy. And just as we were about to go to her, feeling yet another tremor in that area as the story goes on in southern Italy.


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