Thousands Displaced by Italy Earthquake

The 14th-century Cathedral of St Benedict was among the historical sites hit by the quake.The 14th-century Cathedral of St Benedict was among the historical sites hit by the quake.

Thousands of people in central Italy have spent the night in cars, tents and temporary accommodation 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, but about 20 people were injured. Powerful aftershocks are still bringing down masonry. In the town of Norcia, in the Perugia region, close to the epicenter of Sunday morning’s earthquake, some locals have decided to stay in their homes, BBC reported.

Others spent the night in tents pitched near the town or have taken up the authorities’ offer of shelter on the Adriatic Coast.

“It will be a difficult night,” the head of Italian Civil Defense, Fabrizio Curcio said on Sunday. “A 6.5 earthquake has clearly changed the situation.”

An evacuation of buildings in central Italy deemed vulnerable to seismic activity 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.

The towns of Castelsantangelo and Preci also suffered considerable damage, but were mainly abandoned after last week’s quakes, of magnitude 5.5 and 6.1. Castelsantangelo’s mayor, quoted by La Stampa newspaper, said there were no casualties at all in the town as “everyone had already left”.

Tremors from the latest earthquake were felt in the capital Rome, where the Metro system was shut down and as far away as Venice in the north. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised that everything will be rebuilt, saying resources will be found.

“We are going through a really tough period,” he said. “We must not allow the profound pain, fatigue and stress that we have now to turn into resignation.”

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.

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