Al Jazeera -
The death toll from the earthquake that hit central Italy on Monday has risen to 250 after more victims were pulled from the rubble.
Rescuers found 15 more bodies in the debris in L'Aquila overnight on Tuesday, and were able to save two women who had survived for up to 42 hours.
Aftershocks continue to hamper the rescue work and the country's prime minister has possibly added to the survivors' distress by telling them they should consider themselves on a "camping weekend".
Thousands have been left homeless in and around the medieval mountain city of L'Aquila, and the shortage of tents has forced some to spend the cold nights in cars.
Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, said on Wednesday the 17,000 people made homeless "have everything they need, they have medical care, hot food".
"Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary, but they should see it like a weekend of camping" he said.
Berlusconi sent troops to the area, set up 20 tent camps and 16 field kitchens, but has so far refused international aid.
While hope is dwindling of finding more people alive in the debris, rescue workers celebrated the recovering of a 98-year-old woman who had been trapped for 30 hours and a 20-year-old woman who had been under the rubble of a four-storey building for 42 hours.
Maria D'Antuono, the 98-year old, who was said to be in good condition, told the ANSA news agency that she had whiled away the time by "doing crochet".
The strongest aftershock toppled buildings in the historic mountainous city in the Abruzzo region, including parts of a church, leaving more than 1,000 people injured.
L'Aquila's mayor said the 5.6 magnitude aftershock killed one resident and was felt 100km away in Rome.
The prime minister, whose government already faces a huge public debt, said he would try to access hundreds of millions of euros in EU disaster funds to rebuild the region within two years.
While aid has been offered from home and abroad, Berlusconi said Italy did not require foreign aid, a decision opposition leaders have urged him to reconsider.
Italian soccer teams pledged revenue from this weekend's matches, while universities and newspapers took collections. Hotels provided cheap rooms for survivors and rescuers.
Some residents and experts expressed anger that even supposedly earthquake-proof modern buildings had collapsed.
"In California, an earthquake like this one would not have killed a single person," said Franco Barberi, head of a committee assessing quake risks at the Civil Protection Agency.
Bodies are being stored in a makeshift mortuary at a school for Italy's finance police outside L'Aquila, local media said, and the first funeral is due to take place later in the day in Loreto Aprutino.
About 1,000 people remain injured, 100 seriously. Fewer than 50 remain missing.
Many of the victims were students at L'Aquila's university.
Monday's quake was particularly deadly because it hit shortly after 3:30am (01:30 GMT) as residents slept.
Flattening houses, centuries-old churches and other buildings in 26 cities and towns, it was the worst earthquake since November 1980, when 2,735 people died in southern Italy.