Central Italy Earthquake: Damage, Panic, Fear, Injury Abound
Dozens of people sustained minor injuries and others more serious ones
Daylight revealed widespread damage in central Italy Thursday after strong earthquakes overnight that caused panic and fear among residents just 2 months after a quake nearby killed hundreds.
No one was killed this time, but dozens of people sustained minor injuries and about four others more serious ones, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said.
Many residents of Campi, a town of about 200, slept in their cars as aftershocks rocked the Umbria, Marche and Lazio regions throughout the night.
The earthquake on 24 August in the same area killed nearly 300 people and destroyed several towns.
The 3 quakes, about 2 hours apart, damaged several buildings, including Campi’s late 14th Century church, San Salvatore a Campi di Norcia, whose rose-windowed facade was reduced to rubble.
The quakes were probably a result of August’s seismic break, Massimiliano Cocco from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
The first tremor measured magnitude 5.4, causing many people to flee their homes and the 2nd was stronger at 6.1 magnitude. A 4.9 aftershock came a couple hours after that, and dozens of weaker ones followed.
Rescue workers set up some 50 beds in a quake-proof building for people who could not sleep in their homes.
“The 1st tremor damaged buildings, with the 2nd one we had collapses,” Fire Department official, Rosario Meduri, said.
While massive boulders that tumbled down the valley had yet to be cleared from the roads, on the whole there was a sense of relief.
The fact that the 1st earthquake was weaker than the 2nd probably helped save lives because most people had already left their homes, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on state radio.
He also said that a decree now being voted on by Parliament to pay for the immediate costs of the August tremor could be extended to cover the latest series of quakes.