ß Rome, February 15 - Italy's Civil Protection Department said Wednesday that the costs of structural damage and emergency services related to a series of recent devastating earthquakes in central Italy have reached 23.5 billion euros. The Civil Protection sent its complete report of damage estimates and related costs from the quakes in the regions of Umbria, Marche, Lazio and Abruzzo to the EU Solidarity Fund in Brussels. The estimates also take into account supplements added by the regions following quakes on January 18. The quake emergency started in August when a 6.0-magnitude tremor killed 299 people in the Lazio towns of Amatrice and Accumoli and the nearby Marche town of Arquata del Tronto. There were more quakes in October, including, a 6.5-magnitude quake struck near Norcia, the biggest since 1980. A fresh round of quakes last month was followed by an avalanche that hit the Rigopiano Hotel in the Abruzzo mountains, claiming 29 lives.
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