Series of strong quakes cause panic in Italy | News | DW | 26.10.2016
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Series of strong quakes cause panic in Italy

Three successive quakes have struck central Italy, cutting power and prompting people to flee their homes in Rome and other cities. While officials said the damage was "apocalyptic," no deaths were immediately reported.

At least four people suffered serious injuries in the cluster of tremors that shook Italy on Wednesday night, Civil Protection department chief Fabrizio Curcio said. The epicenter of the cluster was in the near the central town of Visso, around 170 kilometers (105 miles) northeast of Rome.

Many buildings collapsed or suffered damage, according to officials.

The first earthquake hit with a magnitude of 5.4 past 7 pm local time, according to the US Geological Survey. It was followed by a more powerful 6.1 tremor some two hours later, and another quake of 4.9 just before midnight.

The earthquakes were felt in Rome, as well as Venice in the north and Naples in the south of the country.

The first, weaker quake prompted people to go outside and saved them from the more powerful one two hours later, said the mayor of a village near Visso.

Mayor of Ussita Marco Rinaldi told Sky TG24 channel, "There are enormous problems. ... The area of our town is really finished, it is an apocalyptic situation."

"Many houses collapsed," he added. "People are screaming on the street, and now we are without lights."

Tremors 'linked' to August quake

People in Rome and elsewhere rushed out of their homes in panic and stood in torrential rain after the tremors shook century-old buildings. The quakes also disrupted power and blocked roads in several areas, as well as cut short a football game between Pescara and Atalanta on Italy's east coast.

Italy's national geophysics institute said the Wednesday seismic events were linked to the deathly earthquake in August that killed hundreds in Amatrice, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Visso. The aftershocks caused further damage to buildings in the tourist town. Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi told ANSA news agency that the latest incident "certainly reawakens our fears."

"We are thanking God that there are no dead," he added.

dj/gsw (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)

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