GENOA, Italy -- The Italian government has declared the state of emergency in the Liguria region surrounding the northwest city of Genoa, a day after the dramatic collapse of a major motorway bridge that caused dozens of victims, the country's prime minister said on Wednesday.

A state of emergency request had been filed by the regional authorities earlier in the day.

"We have accepted the request, approving the state of emergency for the next 12 months," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a press conference at the city's prefecture in late afternoon.

"We have allocated 5 million euros (5.67 million US dollars) to cover the costs of first operations, which will be drawn from the National Emergencies Fund," Conte added.

The Fund is a specific national funding program Italy set up in 1992 to help local and regional entities to face possible crisis, and has to be periodically financed from the central government.

The prime minister also confirmed a provisional death toll of 39 provided by local authorities earlier on Wednesday.

Due to security reasons, a total of 634 people -- or 311 households -- were overall evacuated from all of the areas around the bridge partially collapsed due involved in the emergency, according to Conte.

Most of them already found hospitality by relatives and friends, while a minor group was still assisted by the municipality, according to regional governor Giovanni Toti.

Search and rescue activities are still ongoing at the site of the disaster, with 380 firefighters engaged in a race against time to try to reach possible survivors from under the concrete rubble of the huge structure.

The incident concerned a portion of about 100 meters of the "Morandi Bridge", a major viaduct 1,182 meters long connecting the highway A10 and Genoa west to the eastern part of the city.

When the collapse occurred, few minutes before noon on Tuesday, local authorities estimated between 30 and 35 cars and at least three heavy trucks were passing through the bridge. (Xinhuanet)