Aftershocks rock northern Italy a day after quake

Emergency crews inspected schools, churches, and other buildings for damage as aftershocks rattled northern Italy a day after a magnitude-6.0 earthquake killed seven people and toppled centuries-old buildings.

Agricultural experts were also tallying the damage to the prize of the area — its famed Parmesan cheese.

Italian farm lobby group Coldiretti said some 400,000 huge, round cheeses were damaged after the racks where they are aged collapsed. The cheese loss was part of what Coldiretti estimated at €200m in agricultural losses, which included slain livestock and damaged machinery.

Some 3,000 people spent the night in tent camps or their cars or school gyms, too afraid to sleep at home.

Civil protection crews were checking buildings and cultural heritage sites to evaluate the scale of damage and rebuilding costs, said Emilia Romagna regional president Vasco Errani.

“Unfortunately, the aftershocks are continuing and this is creating concern for the citizens,” Mr Romagna 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.”

The quake struck at 4.04am on Sunday, with its epicentre about 35km north of Bologna. Civil protection agency official Adriano Gumina described it as the worst to hit the region since the 1300s.

Four factory workers on an overnight shift were killed when their buildings, in three separate locations, collapsed. Another three people died from heart attacks or other health conditions brought on by fear.

Emergency crews set up tent camps in soccer fields and converted school gyms into reception centres to house the people too afraid or unable to return home.

Resident Donatella Gadda spent the night in her car, too afraid to sleep at home even though civil protection officials said it was safe.

“Honestly I don’t feel up to it, because you know I’m really afraid. I live on the second floor,” she said. “You have to walk down the stairs to get out (when a quake hits).”

Nearly 12 hours after the quake, a sharp aftershock alarmed the residents of Sant’Agostino di Ferrara and knocked off a segment of the city hall’s wall. The building had already been pummelled by the pre-dawn quake, which left a gaping hole on one side.

The same aftershock knocked down most of the clock tower in the town of Finale Emilia, injuring a firefighter and leaving only half the clock attached.


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