Two earthquakes of 5.4 and 6.1 magnitude hit central Italy and Rome creating devastating havoc

Italy,Oct27:A pair of “apocalyptic” aftershocks have shaken central Italy, crumbling buildings, knocking out power and sending panicked residents into the rain-drenched streets just two months after a powerful earthquake killed nearly 300 people.

Two people were injured in the epicentre of Visso, where the rubble of collapsed buildings tumbled into the streets. But the Civil Protection agency had no other immediate reports of injuries or deaths in the quakes on Wednesday (Thursday NZT).

The first quake carried a magnitude of 5.4, but the second one was eight times stronger at 6.1, according to the US Geological Survey

The first quake struck at 7.10pm and could be felt across central Italy and as far south as Caserta. The second, stronger quake, which measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, struck at 9.18pm and could be felt strongly in Rome. The US Geological Survey placed the epicentre near Visso and said it had a depth of 10km.

Both were actually aftershocks to the earthquake on 24 August that struck a broad swath of central Italy, demolishing buildings in three towns and their hamlets, seismologists said.

Television images showed streets filled with rubble from collapsed walls and buildings in the towns of Visso and Ussita.

In Rome, centuries-old palazzi shook and officials at the foreign ministry were evacuated from the building.

A section of a major state highway north of Rome, the Salaria, was closed near Arquata del Tronto as a precaution because of a quake-induced landslide, said a spokeswoman for the civil protection agency, Ornella De Luca.

The mayor of Amatrice, the hilltop village destroyed in the August quake, said residents had felt Wednesday’s aftershocks.