Italy quake: Powerful tremor near Norcia destroys buildings

A strong earthquake has struck near Norcia in central Italy, destroying numerous buildings.

The quakes come nearly two months after a major earthquake killed almost 300 people and destroyed several towns.

Sunday’s quake measured magnitude 6.6, larger than August’s quake and aftershocks last week, and was at a depth of only 1.5km (0.9 miles).

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but tremors were felt in the capital Rome.

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake was 68km south-east of the regional centre of Perugia and close to the small town of Norcia.

Monks at the monastery of San Benedetto, an international Benedictine community in Norcia, tweeted an image of the Basilica of St Benedict destroyed by the earthquake.

Frightened residents rushed into squares and streets after the quake, at about 07:40 local time (06:40 GMT), AP reported.

The mayor of the village of Ussita told Ansa news agency: “Everything collapsed. I can see columns of smoke, it’s a disaster. I was sleeping in the car and I saw hell.”

Italy’s civil protection department said there were “checks under way in all the towns affected by this morning’s quake”.

The nearby towns of Castelsantangelo, Preci and Visso were mainly abandoned after last week’s quakes, of magnitude 5.5 and 6.1.

Services on the metro in Rome have been suspended since the quake.

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