6.6-magnitude earthquake rocks Central Italy

 

SOURCE: CNN: A powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocked central Italy on Sunday morning, injuring at least 20 people, in the strongest tremor to hit the country in more than three decades.

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Sunday’s earthquake struck 6 kilometers north of Norcia, according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake follows tremors last week and comes on the heels of a devastating quake in August which killed nearly 300 people and flattened entire villages.

 

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Italian civil protection staff pass a collapsed wall Sunday in Norcia after the quake jolted central Italy. Photo- CNN

Residents ran onto the streets in a panic as the quake struck at 7:40 a.m. local time (2:40 a.m. ET) Sunday, and rescuers were seen soon after, helping evacuate a group of nuns among crumbling buildings. They worked through aftershocks that hit every 20 minutes or so.

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Sunday morning’s quake has leveled much of the Basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia. Photo-CNN

Authorities are hopeful there may be no deaths since many residents in the region had already been evacuated to emergency camps and hotel rooms paid for by the government after the August quake and last week’s temblors, and schools had shut down in anticipation of powerful aftershocks.

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Sunday’s quake damages a building in Norcia, where many people are afraid of leaving. Photo: CNN

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome thanked rescuers and vowed to rebuild damaged villages.

“Italy has many faults, but these situations bring out the best of us,” he said, adding the country would rebuild houses, churches and shops.

“We will rebuild everything. We have the resources to do it.”

The quake was felt as far north as the Alps, Curcio said, and as far south as Rome, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) away.

The metro in Rome has been shut down as authorities continue to survey the area, municipal officials said.

 

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