Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

15 Killed by Earthquake in Northern Italy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

15 Killed by Earthquake in Northern Italy

Article excerpt

MIRANDOLA, Italy -- A powerful earthquake has killed at least 15 people and left 200 injured as it rocked a swath of northern Italy. Factories, warehouses and churches collapsed, dealing another blow to a region where thousands are still homeless from a stronger temblor just nine days ago.

The 5.8 magnitude quake drove thousands more from their homes in the Emilia Romagna region north of Bologna, one of Italy's most agriculturally and industrially productive areas.

A senior Italian official said at least seven people were missing and the number of homeless in the region has swelled to 14,000 people.

The quake hit just after 9:00 a.m. with an epicenter 25 miles northwest of Bologna, according to the U.S. Geological Survey -- just a handful of miles from where the deadly May 20 quake was centered.

The quake was felt from Piedmont in northwestern Italy to Venice in the northeast and as far north as Austria. It was followed by many aftershocks, some registering more than 5.0 in magnitude.

While today's quake was about 100 times less intense than the 6.0 temblor on May 20, its death toll was more than twice the earlier quake's toll of seven. In both, the dead included workers killed by collapsing factories and warehouses.

Civil Protection agency officials said at least 15 people were killed, about 100 were injured and there was no precise number of the missing. Emergency crews were trying to sift through the twisted steel and broken stone, looking for victims.

In the town of Mirandola, near the epicenter, the church of San Francis crumbled, leaving only its facade standing. The main cathedral also collapsed.

The 9 a.m. temblor terrified many of the thousands of residents who have been living in tents or cars since the May 20 quake and added thousands more homeless into the area.

"I was shaving and I ran out very fast, half dressed," a resident of Sant'Agostino, one of the towns devastated in the quake earlier this month, told AP Television News today.

Sant'Agostino's town hall, so damaged in the May 20 quake that it looked as if it had been bombed, virtually collapsed when the latest deadly temblor struck.

In a hastily called news conference, Premier Mario Monti pledged the government will do "all that it must and all that is possible in the briefest period to guarantee the resumption of normal life in this area that is so special, so important and so productive for Italy. …

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