Italy strug­gles in quake af­ter­math

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Thou­sands of peo­ple in cen­tral Italy have spent the night in cars, tents and tem­po­rary shel­ters fol­low­ing the fourth earth­quake in the area in three months.

The 6.6-mag­ni­tude quake Italy’s strong­est in decades struck close to the re­gion where nearly 300 peo­ple were killed by a quake in Au­gust.

This time no-one ap­pears to have died in the quake near the town of Nor­cia, but about 20 peo­ple were in­jured.

More than 100 af­ter­shocks were reg­is­tered overnight into Mon­day.

These in­cluded one with a mag­ni­tude of 4.2.

Tremors from the lat­est earth­quake were felt in the cap­i­tal Rome, some 150km away. The metro sys­tem was closed on Sun­day and an early 20th Cen­tury bridge, Ponte Mazz­ini, has been shut to traffic af­ter cracks ap­peared.

At least 15,000 peo­ple are es­ti­mated to be in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion, in­clud­ing 4,000 who have re­treated to shel­ters pro­vided by the au­thor­i­ties on the Adri­atic coast.

In Nor­cia, in the Um­bria re­gion, some lo­cals have de­cided to stay in their homes, while oth­ers spent the night in tents pitched near the town or have left for the coast.

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

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 any more,” he said.

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

Giuseppe Pez­zanesi, mayor of To­lentino, said the small town had “suf­fered our black­est day yet”.

“The dam­age is ir­repara­ble. There are thou­sands of peo­ple in the streets, ter­ri­fied, cry­ing,” he said.

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 only 6.2 and were deeper than Sun­day’s earth­quake.

Pho­to­graph: AP

Mi­grants pray dur­ing the fi­nal ser­vice at a makeshift church in what re­mains of the squalid camp near Calais, north­ern France on Sun­day. French au­thor­i­ties are evac­u­at­ing the res­i­dents of the so-called "jun­gle" camp and raz­ing its tents and shanties. They housed up to 10,000 peo­ple and epit­o­mized Europe's mi­grant drama

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