Italy quake: Woman pulled from rubble

Rescue teams use dogs as they look for three workers reported missing at the Haemotronic factory in Medolla, northern Italy after the 5.8 quake which struck there. Photo / AP
Rescue teams use dogs as they look for three workers reported missing at the Haemotronic factory in Medolla, northern Italy after the 5.8 quake which struck there. Photo / AP

Rescuers say they have pulled a woman alive from the rubble of her apartment building, 12 hours after a killer quake hit northern Italy.

Firefighters told Sky TG24 that the woman yelled out to rescuers as they were about to reach her in the rubble of her kitchen.

She had gone into the building, which had been damaged by the region's May 20 quake, reportedly to retrieve some clothes, when last night's 5.8 magnitude temblor struck, collapsing the apartment building of several storeys.

At least 16 people were killed in the quake, while the number of injured was raised to 350.

The quake in the Emilia Romanga region happened just days after another in the same region wrought death and destruction.

Authorities said the region was struck between 1056 GMT and 1101 GMT (10.56pm and 11.01pm NZT) by three tremors of between 5.1 and over 5.3 magnitude, following a 5.8 magnitude quake just after 0700 GMT when people were heading into work.

"Everything's collapsed, it's chaos, buildings across the town are down," a fireman in the tiny town of Cavezzo told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The first quake struck about 60 kilometres east of Parma, according to the Geographical Institute of Modena, and sent panicked residents rushing into the streets in quake-struck cities including Pisa and Venice.

Yesterday's quakes followed a 6.0 magnitude quake in the industrial northeast on May 20 which killed six people and left thousands in makeshift tent dwellings, with many homes and historic buildings reduced to rubble.

"Everything was shaking, we ran out into the streets. The roads are now blocked by people trying to flee the centre in case there's an aftershock," Corriere della Sera reporter Elvira Serra said from the small town of Cento.

Historic chapels, churches and buildings damaged in the first quake crumbled to the ground as panicked citizens joined those already camping out in blue tent camps set up in parks and school playgrounds after the last quake.

"Last night was the first night we'd spent back in our homes after the first quake. Then another one hit," one resident told SKY TG24 television in Sant'Agostino, scattered with buildings with gaping holes in their sides.

Several victims were workers crushed when factories collapsed, while a parish priest in the town of Rovereto di Novi was killed by a falling beam, reportedly after he went back into his church to save a Madonna statue.

In San Felice del Panaro, the dead were identified as Italian, Moroccan and Indian factory workers. "I don't think we are safe, the factory has completely collapsed," a fellow Indian worker told AFP as he called on Allah for help.

Dust filled the air in the picturesque towns of Carpi and Concordia, while in Mirandola rubble covered the Duomo floor and the roof gaped open to the sky.

In Mantua, the Ducal Palace - famous for a stunning collection of frescoes in the Wedding Room - was damaged, along with a number of historic churches.

"A new quake has hit the Emilia Romagna region, leaving victims, wounded people and damaged buildings in its wake," Prime Minister Mario Monti said earlier Tuesday in a televised address from Rome.

"I send the government's condolences to the families of the victims and call on all citizens to have faith. I'm sure we'll get over this moment," he said.

The quake was felt throughout northern and central Italy, causing the the collapse of houses and schools structures weakened by the May 20 quake.

QUAKE WIDELY FELT

"The population hit will not be abandoned," said the head of the Emilia Romagna region, Vasco Errani.

In Pisa, home of the famous leaning tower, offices were evacuated as a precautionary measure. People ran out into the streets from shops and offices in Milan, Bologna and the Aosta Valley, close to the French border.

In Bologna, where the quake was clearly felt, trains to Milan, Verona and Modena were halted, the Italian railway network said.

There were moments of panic in Venice, where a statue fell to the ground, lightly injuring a passerby.

Around 7,000 people who fled their homes in northeast Italy in the May 20 quake are still living in around 89 tent camps erected in fields, sports fields, car-parks and schools.

The camps can take up to 9,000 people.

The region has been hit by a series of quakes and aftershocks over the past two weeks.

The latest disasters struck just over three years after a 6.3-magnitude quake devastated the city of L'Aquila in central Italy in March 2009, killing some 300 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

- AFP

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