Italy quake: Powerful tremor near Norcia destroys buildings

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A strong earthquake has struck near Norcia in central Italy, destroying numerous buildings.

It comes nearly two months after a major earthquake killed almost 300 people and destroyed several towns.

The quake early on Sunday measured 6.6, larger than August’s quake and aftershocks last week. It is thought to be Italy’s most violent in decades.

At least 11 people have been hurt but no deaths are reported so far. Many locals left after last week’s quakes.

Nine people have been pulled alive from the rubble, Italian media say.

Tremors were felt in the capital Rome, and as far away as Venice in the north. It was at a depth of only 1.5km (0.9 miles).

Pope Francis mentioned the quake in his Sunday blessing in Rome’s St Peter’s Square.

“I’m praying for the injured and the families who have suffered the most damage, as well as for rescue and first-aid workers,” he said to loud applause.

Basilica of St Benedict in Norcia
Nuns reportedly had to run out of the Basilica of St Benedict in Norcia as it crumbled
Half-collapsed building between Arquata and Norcia - 30 October
Buildings which survived the previous earthquakes have been brought down
Cracked road on the way to NorciaThe road to Norcia has also been damaged

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake was 68km south-east of the regional centre of Perugia and close to the small town of Norcia.

Monks at the monastery of San Benedetto, an international Benedictine community in Norcia, tweeted an image of the Basilica of St Benedict destroyed by the earthquake.

“The monks are all safe, but our hearts go immediately to those affected, and the priests of the monastery are searching for any who may need the Last Rites,” the monks said later in a statement.

Norcia is believed to be the birthplace of St Benedict.

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