Tremors continue to rattle quake zone in Italy

Rome, Nov 2 (IANS/AKI) Dozens of aftershocks shook central Italy early on Wednesday, including a magnitude 3.5 tremor in the Marche region’s province of Macerata, further fraying the nerves of quake-hit residents.

At 7.07 a.m., a magnitude 3.4 tremor rattled the area around the quake-damaged Umbrian towns of Norcia and Cascia in the province of Perugia before the magnitude 3.5 quake struck at 7.08 a.m. near the towns of Pieve Torina, Fiordimonte and Pievebovigliana.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella was due to visit the area where on Sunday, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake, whose epicentre was near the medieval town of Norcia, was the most powerful to strike the country in 36 years.

The quakes began in the mountainous area on August 24 when a magnitude 6.0 tremor killed 298 people and left 4,000 homeless, causing an estimated four billion euros of damage.

The quakes have left thousands of dwellings in ruins, 22,000 people homeless and have badly damaged many priceless artworks and churches.

Premier Matteo Renzi on Tuesday vowed to rebuild the entire area, whose economy relies heavily on agriculture and agritourism.

A total of 500 extra soldiers are being sent to the area to watch over quake-damaged houses and prevent looting.