Italy holds day of mourning for quake victims

Rome: A day of national mourning began in Italy on Saturday for the people who died when a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the mountainous central regions. The official death toll stands at 278 and no survivors have been found since Wednesday evening after the temblor hit 10 km southeast of Norcia at 3.36 a.m. earlier in the day, the BBC reported.  Flags are due to fly at half mast across the country on Saturday as the country remembers victims of the quake.  Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is due to attend state funerals for victims from Arquata, one of the worst-hit towns along with Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto that were also hard-hit.  A state of emergency was declared on Friday in affected areas and 50 million euros (about $55 million) in funds pledged for rebuilding, the BBC reported.  Many bodies were brought to a makeshift morgue in an aircraft hangar in the city of Rieti, where auhtorities and relatives are identifying them. The first funeral for one of the earthquake's victims was held on Friday, for the son of a state official who died in Amatrice. At least 388 people have been treated in hospital for their injuries while more than 2,000 people were made homeless, the BBC noted. The Italian government has been criticised for failing to prevent deaths after the 2009 earthquake in nearby L'Aquila left 300 dead.