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Rome (AFP) May 23, 2012
Authorities on Wednesday urged survivors of a deadly earthquake in northeastern Italy to return home if their property was not damaged in the disaster, despite fresh aftershocks.
Arturo Gherardi, the civil protection chief in the worst-hit town of Finale Emilia, said that it was time for residents to go back to their homes provided they emerged unscathed from Sunday morning's quake.
"There are around 2,000 people in our camps. And apart from the people who have been staying in our camps, other people have been sleeping in their cars, near their homes," said Gherardi.
"Those who can go home should do so."
However, parts of the town would remain off limits and the public would be given updates by protection officers driving around with loudhailers, he added.
Several bars and other businesses in Finale Emilia reopened on Wednesday, according to the town's mayor Fernando Ferioli.
The head of civil protection in the wider Emilia-Romagna region, Demetrio Egidi, said that his department had provided help to around 6,000 people as he spoke of the fear being triggered by the continuing aftershocks.
"The aftershocks are causing new fear and anxiety. People who had only just returned to their homes have left again," he said.
Around a dozen aftershocks were recorded during the night and on Wednesday morning up to a magnitude of 3.7.
The Italian government on Tuesday declared a 60-day state of emergency in the region hit by the quake and promised 50 million euros ($63 million) in aid to help rebuild houses and family-owned factories.
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