Italy hit by another powerful earthquake
A POWERFUL 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy early yesterday, panicking residents and destroying historic buildings for the third time in just over two months.
Fabrizio Curcio, head of the civil protection agency, said there did not appear to have been any fatalities after a tremor that was felt from Rome to Venice struck at 7:40am.
But the 14th-century Basilica of Saint Benedict in the Umbrian mountain town of Norcia, said to be have been the birthplace of the Catholic saint, was reduced to a pile of rubble.
The church is looked after by an international community of Benedictine monks based in a local monastery which attracts some 50,000 pilgrims every year.
Visibly upset, some of the monks knelt in prayer before the ruins shortly after the quake struck.
The epicentre was located at a depth of 6 kilometres (3.7 miles), north of the small town of Norcia, according to the US Geological Survey.
Italy’s institute of geology and vulcanology measured the quake at 6.5 and said it had been preceded by a 6.1 tremor an hour earlier.
It came four days after quakes of 5.5 and 6.1 magnitude hit the same area and nine weeks after nearly 300 people died in an August 24 quake that devastated the tourist town of Amatrice.
The 13th-century civic tower in Amatrice, which was damaged but left standing by the August quake, collapsed yesterday. –