15 killed as new quake hits Italy
Posted Tuesday, May 29 2012 at 19:06
MANTUA, Italy, Tuesday
A strong earthquake has rocked northeastern Italy, killing at least 15 people, just days after another quake in the same region wrought death and destruction.
Italy’s Civil Protection Authority confirmed 15 people had perished and rescue forces were searching for four or five other people still missing after a series of strong quakes which caused widespread panic among residents.
“I have to leave the building, we’re being hit by a long, powerful tremor. I have to get out,” a civil protection agency spokesman in Mantua told AFP.
Authorities said the region was struck between 1056 GMT and 1101 GMT by three tremors of between 5.1 and over 5.3 magnitude, following a 5.8 magnitude quake just after 0700 GMT when people were heading into work.
“Everything’s collapsed, it’s chaos, buildings across the town are down,” a fireman in the tiny town of Cavezzo told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
The first quake struck about 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Parma, according to the Geographical Institute of Modena, and sent panicked residents rushing into the streets in quake-struck cities including Pisa and Venice.
Tuesday’s quakes followed a 6.0 magnitude quake in the industrial northeast on May 20 which killed six people and left thousands in makeshift tent dwellings, with many homes and historic buildings reduced to rubble.
“Everything was shaking, we ran out into the streets. The roads are now blocked by people trying to flee the centre in case there’s an aftershock,” Corriere della Sera reporter Elvira Serra said from the small town of Cento.
Historic chapels, churches and buildings damaged in the first quake crumbled to the ground as panicked citizens joined those already camping out in blue tent camps set up in parks and school playgrounds after the last quake.
Over 5,000 people were evacuated from their homes and emergency places for 4,000 homeless would be ready by nightfall.