Mas­sive quake leaves thou­sands home­less

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day they were tak­ing care of more than 15,000 peo­ple left home­less by the coun­try’s most pow­er­ful earth­quake in nearly 40 years. Although Sun­day’s 6.6-mag­ni­tude tremor did not re­sult in any deaths, the third pow­er­ful quake in just over two months has left thou­sands of homes in ru­ins or struc­turally un­safe and emp­tied a string of vil­lages and small towns across the coun­try’s moun­tain­ous cen­tral re­gions. The ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents of the dev­as­tated vil­lages and towns have taken refuge with friends and fam­ily as they anxiously await a green light to re­turn to their homes.

But the na­tional civil pro­tec­tion agency said yes­ter­day it was pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to 15,000 peo­ple af­fected by Sun­day’s quake, which was so pow­er­ful it caused cracks in build­ings in Rome, some 120 kilo­me­ters away from the epi­cen­tre near the Um­brian town of Nor­cia. Some 4,000 peo­ple from the worst-hit area around Nor­cia have been sent to ho­tels on the Adri­atic coast with an­other 500 taken by bus to the in­land Lake Trasi­meno. More than 10,000 are be­ing put up in con­verted sports halls and other tem­po­rary fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing tents, across Um­bria and the neigh­bor­ing Marche re­gion, the pro­tec­tion agency said.

Rome basil­ica cracked

A fur­ther 1,100 peo­ple are still in Adri­atic coast ho­tels as a re­sult of the Au­gust 24 Ama­trice earth­quake, which left nearly 300 dead. Given the strength of Sun­day’s new quake, ex­perts said it was re­mark­able that it had not re­sulted in any more fa­tal­i­ties. It did how­ever take a heavy toll on the coun­try’s rich ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage with the 14th Cen­tury Basil­ica of St Bene­dict and the 13th Cen­tury Civic Tower in Ama­trice among the build­ings un­able to re­sist yet an­other re­minder of how vul­ner­a­ble much of Italy is to seis­mic shocks.

Nearly all schools in Rome were closed Mon­day for struc­tural checks and there was traf­fic chaos in the east of the cap­i­tal be­cause of the clo­sure of a key fly­over for as­sess­ment by en­gi­neers. A large crack ap­peared in the fa­cade of one of Rome’s four prin­ci­pal pa­pal churches, the Basil­ica of St Paul Out­side the Walls. The quake was Italy’s big­gest since a 6.9-mag­ni­tude one struck the south of the coun­try in 1980, leav­ing 3,000 peo­ple dead. It has been fol­lowed by hun­dreds of pow­er­ful af­ter­shocks feared to have fur­ther com­pro­mised the safety of build­ings in the af­fected area. — AFP

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