Rescue teams have pulled more bodies from buildings shattered by Monday's deadly earthquake in central Italy as hope for finding more survivors fades.
The Italian news agency ANSA put the latest death toll in the city of L'Aquila and surrounding towns and villages at 272.
Hundreds of aftershocks continue to shake the region, scaring survivors and making rescue efforts difficult Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that 16 of those killed were children. He said the quake left about 28,000 people homeless. Many are living in tent camps and eating from field kitchens.Funerals for the first of the victims got underway Wednesday, ahead of a mass state funeral on Friday.
Pope Benedict says he plans to visit the area as soon as possible. Vatican officials say the trip will come shortly after the Easter holiday on Sunday.