Italy earthquake: 6.6-magnitude tremor rocks nation’s center

(CNN)A powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocked central Italy on Sunday morning, injuring at least 20 people, in the strongest tremor to hit the country in more than three decades.

The earthquake follows tremors last week and comes on the heels of a devastating quake in August, which killed nearly 300 people and flattened entire villages.
    Many others, however, are refusing to leave, some sleeping in their cars that they believe offer better protection than the roofs over their heads.
    “These people don’t want to leave their area because they are really linked in. There’s a long tradition there, and they have some jobs, farmers and so on, so they decide to stay there,” Tommaso Della Longa of the Italian Red Cross told CNN.
    “People need to understand they need to move from there, because the situation in this area is between mountains and valleys — it’s cold even now, and snow is coming in a few weeks,” he said, adding it was difficult to set up support structures there.
    Landslides caused the partial disruption of the course of the Nera River, and the river flooded a road to the village of Visso, already full of debris. Visso was one of the towns affected by a large earthquake Wednesday.
    Technical teams inspected dams, officials said, but have not found any damage so far.

    ‘The whole city shook’

    The quake was felt as far north as the Alps, Curcio said, and as far south as Rome, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) away. The metro in Rome has been shut down as authorities continue to survey the area, municipal officials said.
    Schools in Rome will be closed Monday so buildings can be surveyed for any structural damage, according to the Rome municipality website. Several buildings have suffered minor damage from the series of earthquakes.


    Rescuers have expressed fear about possible mudslides and remained wary about the risk of bringing heavy equipment up narrow roads linking the towns, villages and hamlets in this hilly region of the country.
    The two earthquakes on Wednesday — which had magnitudes of 5.5 and 6.1 — did not result in any reported deaths. But the destruction of nearby historic structures was widely seen as a loss to cultural heritage.
    Powerful tremors on Wednesday and Thursday happened about 50 miles north of where a devastating quake killed nearly 300 people in August.


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