15 dead following 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Italy

15 dead following 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Italy

Credit: Pierre Teyssot/AFP/GettyImages

Rescuers stand by a warehouse which collapsed during an earthquake on May 29, 2012 in Mirandola. As many as 10 people were reported killed when a strong earthquake rocked northeastern Italy on Tuesday, just days after another quake in the same region wrought death and destruction. AFP PHOTO / Pierre Teyssot

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by Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 7:43 AM

MIRANDOLA, Italy -- A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck northern Italy on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people as factories, warehouses and a church collapsed in the same region still struggling to recover from another deadly tremor nine days ago.

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."

The region around Bologna is among the country's most productive. Italy is in the midst of another recession and struggling to tame its massive debt as the European debt crisis worsens.

The quake hit just after 9:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) and was centered 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the city of Bologna, according to the U.S. Geological Survey -- the same area where a 6.0-magnitude temblor killed seven people on May 20.

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.

The ANSA news agency reported that 10 people had died, while the LaPresse news agency said others were still buried under the rubble of collapsed homes and factories.  Emergency crews were trying to sift through the twisted steel and broken stone, looking for victims.

In Mirandola, near the quake's epicenter, the main cathedral collapsed along with the town's oldest church, St. Frances.

Many victims of the new quake, like the one nine days ago, were at work in huge warehouses that collapsed, including one dead inside a machinery factory in Mirandola.

The mayor of San Felice sul Panaro told Sky News 24 that there were fatalities in his town, where Italian media said a tower had collapsed.

Tall buildings and schools were evacuated as far away as Milan as a precaution before people were allowed to re-enter. Train lines connecting Bologna with other northern cities were halted while authorities checked for any damage.

When the quake hit, Monti was meeting with emergency officials in Rome to discuss the impact of the earlier quake, which struck in the middle of the night and left at least 7,000 homeless.

The May 20 quake was described by Italian emergency officials as the worst to hit the region since the 1300s. In addition to the deaths, it knocked down a clock tower and other centuries-old buildings and caused millions in losses to a region known for making Parmesan cheese. Its epicenter was about 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Bologna.

Television footage on Sky News 24 showed evacuees from the May 20 quake peering out of their shaking emergency tents in disbelief on Tuesday.

Residents had just been taking tentative steps toward resuming normal life when the second quake struck. In the town of Sant'Agostino, a daycare center had just reopened. In the town of Concordia, the mayor had scheduled a town meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the aftermath of the first quake.

Instead of moving on, Concordia Mayor Carlo Marchini confirmed the death of one person struck by falling debris in the town's historic center.

Italy's friendly soccer match against Luxembourg, a warm-up match for the Euro 2012 championships, was canceled. The game was due to be played Tuesday in Parma, just 40 miles (60 kilometers) west of the quake.
 

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