Powerful quake rocks central, southern parts of country
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 has 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 head of Italy's civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio, said there were no immediate reports of deaths, but said some people had suffered injuries as numerous buildings that had resisted the previous temblors collapsed. He did not provide details on the injured.
Residents, already rattled by a constant trembling of the earth, rushed into piazzas and streets after being roused from bed by Sunday's 7:40 a.m. quake. Many people still had been sleeping in cars or evacuated to shelters or hotels in other areas after a pair of strong jolts last Wednesday.
Television images showed nuns rushing out of their church and into the main piazza in Norcia as the clock tower appeared about to crumble. One had to be carried by firefighters, while another was supported as she walked.
The mayor of quake-hit Ussita said a huge cloud of smoke erupted from the crumbled buildings.