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Sunday, October 30, 2016

God's Not Happy: Italy earthquake: 6.6 magnitude quake hits centre of country near Norcia

God's Not Happy: Italy earthquake: 6.6 magnitude quake hits centre of country near Norcia 
  • Magnitude 6.6 earthquake strikes Italy around 170 kms north of Rome  
  • Epicentre of the quake was between Norcia, Preci and Castel Sant'Angelo sul Nera
  • No deaths but around 20 are injured, none seriously  
  • Norcia's historic Basilica of St. Benedict destroyed, damage to buildings in Rome Same area hit by quake in August and a pair of aftershocks last week
Italy's most powerful earthquake in 36 years dealt a new blow Sunday to the country's seismically vulnerable heart, sending terrified residents fleeing for the third time in nine weeks and flattening a revered six-century-old church.


Fabrizio Curcio, head of the national civil protection agency, said around a dozen people had been injured but that 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," Curcio said.

The cathedral and basilica in central Norcia destroyed in a 6.6 earthquake this morning
The quake struck struck at 7:40 am (0640 GMT) near the small central mountain town of Norcia, unleashing a shock felt in the capital Rome and even in Venice, 300 kilometres (200 miles) away.
It measured 6.6 on the so-called moment magnitude scale, according to US geologists, while Italian monitors estimated it at 6.5.
It was Italy's biggest quake since a 6.9-magnitude events struck the south of the country in 1980, leaving 3,000 people dead.
Norcia's 14th-century Basilica of Saint Benedict, built on the reputed birthplace of the Catholic saint, was reduced to rubble.

 Debris after a wall collapse following the strong earthquake that hit Norcia, 
 Debris after a wall collapse following the strong earthquake that hit Norcia,  Credit: EPA
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.
"It was like a bomb went off," the town's deputy mayor, Pierluigi Altavilla told Rai News 24.
"We are starting to despair. There are too many quakes now, we can't bear it anymore."
Visibly upset, some of the monks and other residents knelt in prayer before the ruins.
The basilica was inspected last week by experts from the ministry of culture and earmarked for structural repair work which could not be carried out.
Guiseppe Pezzanesi, mayor of Tolentino in the neighbouring Marche region, said the small town had "suffered our blackest day yet."
"The damage is irreparable. There are thousands of people in the streets, terrified, crying. Let's hope that is an end to it, the people are on their knees psychologically."
The quake's epicentre was located at a very shallow depth of one kilometre (0.6 of a mile), six kms north of Norcia, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the magnitude at 6.6.
Italy's institute of geology and vulcanology (IGNV) measured the quake at 6.5 and said it had been preceded by a 6.1 magnitude shock an hour earlier.
It came four days after quakes of 5.5 and 6.1 magnitude hit the same area and nine weeks after nearly 300 people died in an August 24 quake that devastated the tourist town of Amatrice at the peak of the holiday season.
The 13th-century civic tower in Amatrice, which was damaged but left standing by the August quake, collapsed on Sunday.
As with Wednesday's tremors, the impact was mitigated by the fact that any buildings deemed vulnerable to seismic activity had been evacuated.

A building damaged in L'Aquila after the strong earthquake in central Italy
A building damaged in L'Aquila after the strong earthquake in central Italy Credit: EPA
"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 said.
The quake was powerful enough to set off car alarms in Rome, 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the epicentre, and the capital's underground rail network was closed for structural safety checks.
Much of Italy's land mass and some of its surrounding waters are prone to seismic activity with the highest risk concentrated along its mountainous central spine.
Italy straddles the Eurasian and African tectonic plates, making it vulnerable to seismic activity when they move.
In addition to the Amatrice disaster in August, just over 300 perished when a quake struck near the city of L'Aquila in 2009.
In 1980 tremors near Naples left 3,000 dead and an estimated 95,000 died in the 1908 Messina disaster, when a quake in the waters between mainland Italy and Sicily sent massive waves crashing into both coasts.
Auto update

 Prime Minister Renzi: 'We will rebuild'

Matteo Renzi has pledged to "rebuild everything" after the quake and has expresses compassion for the people affected. His cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss financial measures.
He says the money will be found to rebuild churches, houses and businesses.

Update from Josephine McKenna in Italy

Head of Civil Protection dept Fabrizio Curcio has confirmed at a 12:20pm (local time) press conference that there are no deaths however around 20 have been injured.  Viability of the towns "seriously compromised".
Pope Francis expressed his closeness to quake victims at this morning's Angelus at St Peter's Square which garnered applause from crowds at Vatican.
"I am praying for the injured and the families that have suffered major damage and also the personnel engaged in rescues and assistance, " he said.
Italian president Sergio Mattarella has expressed "solidarity and support" for the victims.

Priests advised to hold Mass outdoors

A Catholic Church leader in one of the two regions where another earthquake has caused buildings to collapse is advising parish priests to avoid holding Mass inside churches.
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti told priests in the Umbria region to hold Mass outdoors following the Sunday morning earthquake as well as on All Saint's Day on Tuesday, a holiday on which Catholic's remember the dead.
The news agency ANSA said Bassetti, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Umbria, made the decision after consulting with the head of the region.
The earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 has damaged historic churches in the town of Norcia, including the 14th century St. Benedict cathedral in one of the city's main piazza.

Cracks have appeared at St Paul's Basilica


People view a crack along the outer colonnade of St. Paul's Basilica closed following the earthquake in central Italy,
People view a crack along the outer colonnade of St. Paul's Basilica closed following the earthquake in central Italy Credit:  EPA
The earthquake in central Italy has damaged the 4th century church in Rome commonly known as 'St Paul's Outside the Walls'.
ANSA news agency reported that cornices fell and cracks appeared in the walls after the quake struck central Italy and shook many buildings in the capital.
A beam that supported a large candelabra had also become detached causing more damage.
The report said firefighters and police were called to the basilica, one of the most popular for Christian pilgrims after the quake.
The Basilica is one of Rome's four ancient, Papal, major basilicas, along with the Basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter's, and St. Mary Major.

A crack can clearly be seen 
A crack can clearly be seen above the main arch of the building Credit: EPA
The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle's execution, his followers erected a memorial, called a cella memoriae.
Rome officials also checking the Colosseum and Roman Forum for signs of cracks or quake damage.

This map shows the epicentre of the earthquake



Civil Protection Agency's desperate tweet

The mayors are asking for help.. People are exhausted. They need solidarity from all Italians. Situation very serious.
The head of Italy's civil protection agency says there are no immediate reports of deaths.
Fabrizio Curcio said some people suffered injuries as numerous buildings that had resisted previous temblors in August and last week collapsed. He did not provide details on the nature or extent of the injuries.
Curcio says the agency is using helicopters to tend to the injured and to assess damage.
He says 1,300 people displaced on Wednesday by a pair of powerful aftershocks to an August quake that killed nearly 300 had been evacuated to the coast in recent days and that the operation would continue.


Tremors felt in Rome

Residents in parts of the capital ran out into the streets as the walls and floors of homes and buildings shook for several seconds, writes Josephine McKenna. The fire service received dozens of calls in the capital and the metro was stopped temporarily while officials checked the strength of the quake.

"Disaster, disaster!"

The mayor of quake-hit Ussita said a huge cloud of smoke erupted from the crumbled buildings.
"It's a disaster, a disaster!" Mayor Marco Rinaldi told the ANSA news agency. "I was sleeping in the car and I saw hell."
Another hard-hit city, Castelsantangelo sul Nera, also suffered new damage.
The quake was felt throughout the Italian peninsula, with reports as far north as Bolzano and as far south as Bari. Residents rushed into the streets in Rome, where ancient palazzi shook, swayed and lurched for a prolonged spell.
The head of the civil protection authority in the March region, Cesare Spuri, said there have been reports of buildings collapsing in many cities.
"We are trying to understand if people are under the rubble," Spuri said.
In Norcia, nuns knelt in prayer and a firefighter appealed to a priest to help maintain calm among dozens of residents gathered there, including some in wheel chairs.
The church, which had withstood the August earthquake in August and last week's aftershocks, still was standing, but television pictures showed piles of stone had accumulated at the bottom of one wall. One stone was thrown meters into the center of the piazza, illustrating the quake's force.
"We have to keep people calm. Prayer can help. I don't want people to go searching for family members," the firefighter appealed as cameras from SKY TG24 filmed.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.6 or 6.5 with an epicenter 132 kilometers northeast of Rome and 67 kilometers east of Perugia, near the epicenter of last week's temblors. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.6.
The German Research Centre for Geosciences put the magnitude at 6.5 and said it had a depth of 10 kilometers, a relatively shallow quake near the surface but in the norm for the quake-prone Apennine Mountain region.


 'It's all destroyed. Arquata del Tronto no longer exists'

In Arquata del Tronto a small comune (municipality) in the Italian region of La Marche which had been devastated by the Aug. 24 earthquake that killed nearly 300 people, Mayor Aleandro Petrucci said, "There are no towns left."
"Everything came down," he said.

Related: https://www.rt.com/news/364721-italy-central-quake-damage/


6.6-magnitude earthquake rocks central, southern Italy

BIGGER Quake Strikes Italy (M6.6) | S0 News Oct.30.2016