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Swiss offer help after Italian quake

An earthquake early Monday morning destroyed dozens of historic buildings in central Italy Reuters

Switzerland has offered support to Italy after an earthquake killed more than 130 people and left 1,500 injured.

This content was published on April 6, 2009 - 23:16

The Swiss foreign ministry said it had offered help in the aftermath of the quake early on Monday morning. Rome has said it does not need international assistance for the moment.

Russia, Germany, France, Greece, Israel and the European Union have also pledged their support.

The quake hit central Italy just after 3.30am, damaging 26 cities and towns. The 13th century mountain city of L'Aquila, about 110km northeast of Rome, was worst hit. Many buildings in the city's historic centre are at risk of collapse.

Officials estimate 50,000 people in the region may have been left homeless. It is the worst quake to hit Italy in nearly 30 years.

"Some towns in the area have been virtually destroyed in their entirety," said Gianfranco Fini, speaker of Italy's lower house of parliament.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi warned that more quakes were possible and said citizens would be prohibited from remaining in damaged homes. Around 15,000 buildings have been declared off limits.

swissinfo with agencies

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