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Terror in Italy as 2 earthquakes strike within 2 hours

October 27, 2016 08:26 IST

Two powerful earthquakes struck central Italy on Wednesday about 50 miles north of the site of a deadly quake in August that killed nearly 300 people, the US Geological Survey said.

IMAGE: A chapel and collapsed houses are seen after two powerful quakes struck within two hours. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

The second quake -- with a magnitude of 6.1 -- was 3.2 kilometre north of Visso and 58 km from Perugia, the USGS reported.

Just a few hours earlier, a magnitude-5.5 quake struck the same region. The epicentre was about 9 kilometre away, south-southwest of Visso. 

IMAGE: Firefighters remove a painting from a collapsed house following the earthquakes. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

There have been no reports yet of injuries.

However, some buildings have collapsed, a motorway has been closed and many people in the countryside were plunged into darkness as the power was knocked out.

The Mayor of the town of Ussita, Marco Rinaldi, said: “It was a very strong earthquake, apocalyptic. People are screaming on the street and now we are without lights.

“Many houses have collapsed. Our town is finished.”

IMAGE: Darkness and heavy rain are hampering the search for injured people in the village of Castel Santangelo Sul Nera. Photograph: Twitter

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is on his way to Rome to monitor the situation, tweeted: “I want to thank everyone who is working in heavy rains in areas of #terremoto. All of Italy embraces the strong communities affected.”

The mayor of Serravalle del Chienti, Gabriele Santamarianova, said the quake felt ‘like bombs were falling’.

IMAGE: Officials said that there have been no fatalities but building have been damaged and the area has been plunged into darkness. Photograph: Reuters TV

“We saw a cloud of dust, we don’t yet know what has fallen down. We’ll see once the sun comes up.”

Wednesday’s quakes come two months after a quake in central Italy killed nearly 300 people.  

IMAGE: A still image from a video shows a damaged building after an earthquake in Visso. Photograph: Reuters TV

The August 24 quake - which measured 6.2 -- destroyed the hilltop village of Amatrice and several other small towns.

IMAGE: Rubble covers a car in Castel Santangelo Sul Nera but the full extent of the damage will not be clear until daybreak. Photograph: Twitter