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‘It is as if the whole city fell down’

October 31, 201610:25am

6.6 magnitude quake hits central Italy4:20

The US Geological Survey says an earthquake measuring 6.6 magnitude has struck central Itay

  • October 30th 2016
  • 17 hours ago
  • /video/video.news.com.au/News/World/

St Benedict’s Monastery in Norcia has reportedly been destroyed. Picture: The Monks of Norcia/Twitter

Staff Writer, WiresNews Corp Australia Network

Italy’s most powerful earthquake in 36 years stuck the country’s mountainous centre on Sunday, panicking shell-shocked residents for the third time in two months, reducing buildings to rubble and flattening a world famous 600-year-old basilica.

The 6.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the ancient town of Norcia in central Italy, reportedly injuring about a dozen people, including one person who is believed to be in a serious condition.

Remarkably, there were no reports of anyone dying as a result, the head of the national civil protection agency said in an update on the impact.

“As far as people are concerned, the situation is positive but many buildings are in a critical state in historic centres and there are problems with electricity and water supplies,” Fabrizio Curcio told reporters.

The quake — which was felt from Rome to Venice — struck at 6.40am local time, four days after quakes of 5.5 and 6.1 magnitude hit central Italy.

It was originally reported as having a 7.1 magnitude and depth of 108km, but has since been revised by the US Geographical Survey.

Live television coverage showed the collapse of a church in the centre of Norcia, a town near Perugia in Umbria. Parts of the town had already been sealed off. Picture: Twitter/Steve Amann

Live television coverage showed the collapse of a church in the centre of Norcia, a town near Perugia in Umbria. Parts of the town had already been sealed off. Picture: Twitter/Steve AmannSource:Supplied

The earthquake rocked the same area of central and southern Italy hit by quake in August and a pair of aftershocks last week, sending already quake-damaged buildings crumbling after a week of temblors that have left thousands homeless.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.6 or 6.5 with an epicentre 132km northeast of Rome and 67km east of Perugia, near the epicentre of last week’s quakes.

#Giulianova. Scossa di #terremoto durante la messa al Santuario dello Splendore. Fedeli in fuga. Video. #esclusiva. @TgrRai @TgrAbruzzo pic.twitter.com/dzgLUToOwH

— GabrieleMastellarini (@mastellarini) October 30, 2016

Residents who fled from their houses gather in a square in front of a damaged church in Norcia, Italy. Picture: Sky Italia via AP

Residents who fled from their houses gather in a square in front of a damaged church in Norcia, Italy. Picture: Sky Italia via APSource:AP

Rescuers are scrambling to assist the wounded after a powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy. Picture: Sky Italia via AP

Rescuers are scrambling to assist the wounded after a powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy. Picture: Sky Italia via APSource:AP

“This morning’s quake has hit the few things that were left standing. We will have to start from scratch,” Michele Franchi, the deputy mayor of Arquata del Tronto, told rai television.

Some people are trapped in the main square threatened by nearby buildings on the verge of collapse, The Monks of Norcia tweeted.

People are trapped in the main square, as nearby buildings may collapse. Trucks are coming to clear a path to safety. #terremoto

— The Monks of Norcia (@monksofnorcia) October 30, 2016

Eyewitnesses said the St. Benedict cathedral — birthplace to the Catholic saint and the 14th century cathedral in one of the city’s main piazza — crumbled in the Sunday morning quake. Only its facade remains standing.

The church is looked after by an international community of Benedictine monks based in a local monastery which attracts some 50,000 pilgrims every year.

Visibly upset, some of the monks knelt in prayer before the ruins shortly after the quake struck.

Priests prayed in the piazza amid the rubble.

Firefighters stand in front of a damaged building in Norcia. Picture: Sky Italia via AP

Firefighters stand in front of a damaged building in Norcia. Picture: Sky Italia via APSource:AP

We’re all outside the ancient walls of #Norcia #Italy now but even that has been damaged #Earthquake pic.twitter.com/omglcxVyZI

— Steve Amann (@StvAma) October 30, 2016

Norcia city assessor Giuseppina Perla told ANSA news agency:

It’s as if the whole city fell down.

The city’s ancient walls suffered damage, as did another famous Norcia church, St. Mary Argentea, known for its 15th century frescoes.

The Basilica of St. Benedict is destroyed, flattened by most recent earthquake. #Terremoto pic.twitter.com/GQDl64LhFn

— The Monks of Norcia (@monksofnorcia) October 30, 2016

On August 24, nearly 300 people died in a major quake in the notoriously seismic-prone region.

The quake set dogs barking in the largely-abandoned towns of Norcia, Castelsantagelo, Preci and Visso, where residents had left their homes to sleep in cars or moved to the coast following this week’s quakes.

“Everything collapsed. I can see columns of smoke, it’s a disaster, a disaster,” Marco Rinaldi, the mayor of Ussita, one of the pretty mountain villages hit hardest by the last quake, told journalists.

“I was sleeping in my car, I saw hell break out,” he was quoted as saying.

Italy’s civil protection department said there were “checks underway in all the towns affected by this morning’s quake to determine whether there has been any damage to people or buildings.” Images aired by Italy’s Sky News 24 showed monks on their knees praying silently in front of the outdoor statue of St Benedict of Norcia, while scared residents stood by.

Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes?51:54

Horizon finds out the reasons why earthquakes remain so difficult to predict.

  • March 24th 2015
  • 2 years ago
  • /video/video.news.com.au/TV/Documentary/

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