Numerous buildings are said to have been destroyed across central Italy after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake, followed by aftershocks, rocked the peninsula on Sunday morning. No deaths have been reported, but Civil Protection says a number of people have been injured.
The US Geological Survey’s website puts the magnitude at 6.6.
Initial reports on the magnitude of the tremors varied – while USGS and Italian media first talked of a 7.1 earthquake, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said the tremor was magnitude 6.5 or 6.6.
Italy Civil Protection reports buildings collapsing in a number of locations following the tremors.
“No deaths have been reported, but there are a number of people injured,” Civil Protection chief Fabrizio Curcio told a news conference, as cited by Reuters, adding that one person was in serious condition. The USGS says the quake was centered 6 km (3.7 miles) north of Norcia, a town in the province of Perugia. The epicenter lay some 10 kilometers deep.
Norcia, famed for its Benedictine monastery and its cured meats, is home to some 5,000 people.
According to RAI Radio, at least two buildings collapsed there – the Basilica di San Benedetto, the 14th century cathedral in one of the city’s main piazza, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Argentea.
“It’s as if the whole city fell down,” Norcia city assessor Giuseppina Perla told the ANSA news agency.
Aftershocks with magnitudes of up to 4.5 still reportedly rock the region.
Italians who live in the areas affected by the quake rushed to the web, posting videos of shaking furniture inside their homes.
According to those on Twitter, tremors were felt in Perugia, Rimini, Abruzzo, Naples and Rome, where the circulation of the metro-system was reportedly suspended on lines A and B.