Another strong earthquake has shaken central Italy, causing the collapse of buildings and historic edifices already damaged by previous tremors. The Sunday quake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale and struck at 07:40 a.m. (0640 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey. Fabrizio Curcio, the head of the national civil protection agency, said there did not appear to have been any fatalities. “We are checking. There are several people injured, but for the moment, we have had no reports of victims,” he said.
However, the 14th-century Basilica of Saint Benedict in the Umbrian mountain town of Norcia, said to be have been the birthplace of the Catholic saint, was reduced to a pile of rubble in the Sunday earthquake. The quake was felt as far north as Bolzano, near the border with Austria, and as far south as the Puglia region at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. It was felt strongly in the capital Rome, as well. A number of injuries were reported as a result of the earthquake, but no deaths. The Sunday earthquake followed a series of tremors that have been striking the country in the past five days. A pair of strong jolts hit last Wednesday.
Residents already fearful by continuous quakes in the region rushed into piazzas and streets after being put on alert by the morning quake. Many scared people were already sleeping in cars or evacuated to shelters and hotels in other areas. The Sunday earthquake was the biggest earthquake to hit the country since almost 300 people were killed in central Italy on August 24 by a quake that leveled several small towns.