Italy (MNN) — While believers worldwide celebrated Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday, it was a dismal occasion for earthquake survivors in Italy.
"Some of my friends died under the rubble," one survivor told CNN. "This isn't really a meaningful Easter for me. I'm a believer…but this year I don't really feel it."
On April 6, the worst earthquake to hit Italy in 30 years reduced most of L'Aquila to rubble. After the death of a 59-year-old man in the hospital due to injuries he sustained, the earthquake's death toll raised to 294.
A mass funeral for over 200 victims was held on Good Friday, and around 25,000 survivors spent Easter Sunday in tent cities. Easter Sunday Mass was held in makeshift chapels across the predominately Roman Catholic region of central Italy, but attendance was low.
The TouchGlobal Crisis Response team with the Evangelical Free Church Mission is developing a response to the catastrophe in conjunction with the ReachGlobal team in Rome City. The teams are working together to manage needs through local churches and partners. So far, the primary need is financial. Home reconstruction particularly will need additional funding.
Over 55,000 people were displaced by the earthquake and have taken temporary residence in more than 100 tent cities and in hotels. In an Easter visit to survivors, the prime minister assured them that they could leave open-air camps in about two months. He also declared that "the emergency phase is over" and said the government is committed to moving survivors into more comfortable residences.