Italy quake: At least 15,000 in temporary shelters

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(BBC) Italy’s most powerful earthquake since 1980 has left more than 15,000 people homeless, according to the country’s civil protection agency.

No-one was killed in the quake but 20 were injured and damage to the area round the town of Norcia is extensive.

The 6.6-magnitude quake struck near the central region where nearly 300 people were killed by a quake in August.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is chairing a meeting of his cabinet to discuss emergency reconstruction.

The quake struck on Sunday morning, destroying buildings or leaving them structurally unsafe in several towns and villages in the mountainous central region.

Many of those affected are living with relatives or friends, but the civil protection agency said it was providing assistance to 15,000, with 10,000 accommodated in tents and converted sports halls. Thousands spent the night in their cars or under canvas.

Italy quake: At least 15,000 in temporary shelters
Italy quake: At least 15,000 in temporary shelters

Hotels on the Adriatic coast are sheltering some 4,000.

More than 100 aftershocks were registered overnight into Monday, including one of magnitude 4.2.

Tremors from the latest earthquake were felt in the capital Rome, more than 100km (60 miles) away from the epicentre at Norcia.

The Rome metro system was closed on Sunday; an early 20th Century bridge, Ponte Mazzini, has been shut to traffic after cracks appeared; and a crack was visible on the facade of St Paul’s Basilica.

In Norcia, in the Umbria region, locals have been demanding tents rather than moving out of the town. Some decided to stay in their homes.

Norcia resident Stefano Boldrini, who is now living in a van with his eight-year-old daughter, was asked if they planned to stay in the area.

“How could we? There’s no more school, or church, or police station. There’s nothing here anymore,” he said.

The medieval basilica of St Benedict in Norcia was among many historic buildings destroyed.

An evacuation of vulnerable buildings in central Italy last week, following strong aftershocks from August’s quake, may have saved lives.

Officials said three people were dug out of the rubble alive in the town of Tolentino on Sunday.

Sunday’s quake – 6.6 as measured by the US Geological Survey – came on top of August’s quake and two last week of magnitude 5.5 and 6.1.

Other towns and villages to have suffered damage include Castelsantangelo, Preci, Ussita and Arquata.

Central Italy has seen several major quakes in recent years. Earthquakes which devastated the town of L’Aquila in 2009 and Amatrice in August this year killed about 300 people each.

But they both measured 6.2 and were deeper than Sunday’s earthquake.

Italy’s most violent earthquakes since 1900

  • October 2016 – Norcia, central Italy, magnitude 6.6, no deaths reported so far
  • November 1980 – Campania, southern Italy (Naples badly hit), magnitude 6.9, up to 5,000 killed
  • July 1930 – Irpinia, Campania, magnitude 6.6, 1,400 killed
  • January 1915 – L’Aquila, magnitude 6.7, more than 30,000 killed
  • December 1908 – Strait of Messina, magnitude 7.1, up to 200,000 killed by earthquake and tsunami
  • September 1905 – Calabria, magnitude 7.2, up to 2,500 killed by tsunami

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