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Italian Town to Begin Burials

May 10, 1998| From Reuters

SARNO, Italy — The stricken Italian town of Sarno prepared to bury today dozens of residents killed in the mudslides that have submerged swaths of the south.

Most of the 116 people known to have died in the disaster came from the town, as did the 22-year-old man found alive Friday after three days neck-deep in rubble.

"The most beautiful thing is to be alive," Roberto Robustelli told Italian TV on Saturday from his hospital bed, his bloodied and bruised face swaddled in bandages.

Robustelli's rescue was a rare ray of hope in a bleak search for survivors. As he recovered, emergency services brought row upon row of coffins to the school gym of a Sarno school.

The mass funeral was scheduled for this morning on a sports field, news agencies reported. Afterward, the victims were to be interred together in a special area of the town's cemetery, part of which was destroyed by the rivers of mud.

Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro and Prime Minister Romano Prodi will attend the funeral before flying by helicopter to the crippled town of Quindici, ANSA news agency said.

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