Pow­er­ful quake near Nor­cia de­stroys build­ings

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

A strong earth­quake has struck near Nor­cia in cen­tral Italy, de­stroy­ing nu­mer­ous build­ings.

The quakes come nearly two months after a ma­jor earth­quake killed al­most 300 peo­ple and de­stroyed sev­eral towns.

Yes­ter­day’s quake mea­sured mag­ni­tude 6.6, larger than Au­gust’s quake and after­shocks last week. It is thought to be Italy’s most vi­o­lent in decades.

A num­ber of in­juries were re­ported but no deaths so far. Many lo­cals were evac­u­ated after last week’s quakes.

Tremors were felt in the cap­i­tal Rome, and as far away as Venice in the north. It was at a depth of only 1.5km.

The US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey said the epi­cen­tre of the quake was 68km south-east of the re­gional cen­tre of Peru­gia and close to the small town of Nor­cia.

Monks at the monastery of San Benedetto, an in­ter­na­tional Bene­dic­tine com­mu­nity in Nor­cia, tweeted an im­age of the Basil­ica of St Bene­dict de­stroyed by the earth­quake.

They said that peo­ple were trapped in the main square as nearby build­ings were li­able to collapse.

“The monks are all safe, but our hearts go im­me­di­ately to those af­fected, and the priests of the monastery are search­ing for any who may need the Last Rites,” the monks said later in a state­ment. Nor­cia is be­lieved to be the birth­place of St Bene­dict. Fright­ened res­i­dents rushed into squares and streets after the quake, at about 7:40am lo­cal time, AP re­ported.

The towns of Cas­tel­san­tan­gelo and Preci have also suf­fered con­sid­er­able dam­age, but were mainly aban­doned after last week’s quakes, of mag­ni­tude 5.5 and 6.1.

The may­ors of the vil­lages of Us­sita and Arquata said many build­ings had col­lapsed there too.

The Us­sita mayor told Ansa news agency: “Ev­ery­thing col­lapsed. I can see col­umns of smoke, it’s a dis­as­ter. I was sleep­ing in the car and I saw hell.”

An­other church col­lapsed in To­lentino, pos­si­bly with peo­ple in­side cel­e­brat­ing Mass.

Ama­trice, the town which suf­fered most in the Au­gust earth­quake, has also been af­fected.

Italy’s civil pro­tec­tion de­part­ment said there were “checks un­der way in all the towns af­fected by this morn­ing’s quake”. Ser­vices on the metro in Rome have been sus­pended since the quake. 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 only 6.2 and were deeper than Sun­day’s earth­quake.

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