Three strong tremors strike Italy

Rome, Jan 18 (IANS/AKI) Three strong earthquakes rocked central Italy on Monday with the tremors being felt in Rome.

There were no immediate reports of casualties but emergency services said they received thousands of phone calls from people in the quake zone.

The first quake measured a magnitude of 5.3 and struck between the Abruzzo regional capital L’Aquila and Rieti in northern Lazio at a depth of 10 km, Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanolgy reported.

The quake’s epicentre was three kilometres from the Abruzzo town of Montereale and nine kilometres from the Lazio hill town of Amatrice, the institute said.

The second tremor’s epicentre was in the same area and struck less than an an hour later at 11.15 a.m. with a magnitude of 5.4, according to the institute.

A third magnitude 5.3 quake followed immediately afterwards.

Rome’s underground was evacuated after the second earthquake and so were several schools in the capital.

Schools in Rieti were also evacuated as a precaution, its Mayor Simone Petrangeli said.

The earthquakes followed 36 hours of continuous snowfall in the mountainous areas of central Italy, where 300,000 people went without electricity in Abruzzo on Tuesday.

The quakes are the latest to hit the central Apennines after 300 people died in a magnitude 6.2 tremor in August that flattened Amatrice’s historic centre and devastated several nearby hill towns.

Two further quakes rattled the region in October, with the most powerful measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.

–IANS/AKI

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