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Experts warn of 'larger aftershocks' in wake of Italy's devastating earthquake

Seismologists have urged caution in the wake of a devastating earthquake due to the likelihood of powerful aftershocks. Italy has witnessed its strongest earthquake in 36 years, miraculously without fatalities.

Seismologists on Sunday warned of devastating aftershocks in the wake of a powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake that left at least 25,000 people homeless.

Margarita Segou, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey, said that while there will likely be a decrease in earthquakes in the region, there is a likelihood of stronger aftershocks in the aftermath of Sunday's destructive earthquake.

"We cannot exclude the possibility of larger magnitude aftershocks," she told AP news agency.

Carlo Doglioni, president of Italy's National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology, said that the intense activity surrounding a series of faults in central Italy is not abnormal.

A similar series of three seismic events occurred within months of each other in 1703, which is "normal for the Apennines," Doglioni said.

It "means we can expect some 5 magnitude quakes and many of magnitude 4" in the wake of Sunday's earthquake near the historic city of Norcia, he added.

'State of fear'

Sunday's earthquake marked Italy's strongest seismic activity in 36 years, destroying dozens of historic buildings in the regions of Marche and Umbria.

Italian civil protection chief Fabrizio Curcio said 20 people had been injured in the event, while no deaths had been reported.

The lack of deaths in the strong temblor was likely due to a pair of powerful jolts that shook the region last week, prompting people to flee their homes.

Italy's civil protection agency is still housing approximately 1,100 people left homeless after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the area of Amatrice, leaving nearly 300 people dead.

"Everyone has been suspended in a never-ending state of fear and stress. They are at their wits' end," Bishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia told Reuters news agency after the city's 14th century Basilica of St. Benedict collapsed in the wake of Sunday's quake.

'We will rebuild everything'

Earlier Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi  vowed to implement a major reconstruction project Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed to implement a major reconstruction project in the affected areas without regard to EU public finance rules.

"We will rebuild everything, the houses, the churches and the businesses. Everything that needs to be done to rebuild these areas will be done," Renzi told reporters.

There will be "no regard for technocratic rules," he added, saying that money spent to make public buildings, including schools and hospitals, earthquake-proof may be considered outside EU limitations on budget deficits.

ls/ (Reuters, AP, dpa)

 

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