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Signs of exhaustion were everywhere four days after a deadly earthquake north of Athens forced tens of thousands of people from their wrecked homes.

As the death toll from the magnitude 5.9 quake reached 109 on Saturday, relatives of 20 people believed still buried in rubble stood silently among reporters and cameramen as tireless rescue workers from Greece and six other countries tunneled into collapsed buildings hoping for a miracle.

"We still hope everyone is alive," said Fire Chief Nikos Kotsioris, noting that rescue work had ended at all but four sites. "It is a very difficult operation. The weight of the rubble is great."

Cranes were used to lift slabs of concrete off a collapsed five-story household products factory in the remote chance that anyone trapped in the levels below had survived.

An estimated 50,000 people have been forced outdoors in the blue collar neighborhoods and towns of Menidi, Metamorfosi, Nea Philadelphia and Ano Liosia, where the mayor's home was destroyed.

Officials said enough tent space was now available to accommodate the homeless.

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