A powerful earthquake in northern Italy killed seven people Monday, injured dozens and left thousands of survivors homeless, huddling in tents or cars for refuge overnight.
The quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey measured to be magnitude 6.0, struck at 4:04am (0204 GMT) and was was felt across northern Italy, from Liguria to the Veneto. Some authorities described it as the worst in the area since the 1300s.
Fox News writes that four of the victims of the earthquake were factory workers on an overnight shift who died when their buildings, in three separate locations, collapsed. Another three people were said to have died, apparently from heart attacks or other conditions, out of fear.
Following the initial powerful temblor, which sent parts of historic castles, clock towers and churches tumbling down, 100s of aftershocks continued to rattle Italy’s industrial heartland, creating fresh panic, and further damaging already weakened buildings and causing more structures to collapse.
“Unfortunately, the aftershocks are continuing and this is creating concern for the citizens,” Emiglia-Romana regional president Vasco Errani told Sky TG24. “This is something we have to deal with because there is a psychological aspect to this. As a result, we’re speeding up the checks on the buildings.”
Franco Gabrielli, head of Italy’s Civil Protection Department, said 11,000 people were displaced by the quake and added that his agency expects to get more reports of injuries as rescue workers make their way to remote villages in the mountainous area.
Heavy rainfall was expected to continue into Tuesday after hampering rescue efforts and efforts to spot survivors from the air.
The last serious earthquake to strike Italy was the 6.3 scale shock in L’Aquila in 2009 which killed nearly 300, according to the Guardian.
CNN has more on the 2012 Italy earthquake in the video below: