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Historic St Benedict Basilica destroyed in powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake at Italy

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Days after the region was hit by two earthquakes, a fresh tremor of 6.6 magnitude was felt near Norcia in central Italy on Sunday.

The USGS said the quake was centred 68km (42 miles) east-southeast of Perugia. It was 108km (67 miles) deep.

The quake, which also felt in Veneto, Puglia and Naples, comes after months of seismic activity in Italy, including the Amatrice earthquake in August, which left more than 250 people dead.

According to the Guardian, it seems that the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia has been destroyed.

Firefighters were seen in action in Norcia’s main square and in some cases were helping people – including many monks and nuns in their habits from a nearby monastery – running down small alleyway seeking safety.

While there were no immediate reports of casualties on Sunday, damage was substantial.
Live television coverage showed the collapse of a church in the centre of Norcia, a town near Perugia in Umbria. Parts of the town had already been sealed off.

The tremors could strongly be felt in Rome and Naples, with people sending messages on social media about seeing the walls shaking.

Television crews in Norcia showed rubble on the ground and damage to ancient structures, but it was unclear whether the damage was related to the most recent quake.

Sunday’s earthquake followed a series of tremors to strike the country in the past five days.

It was felt as far north as Bolzano, near the border with Austria and as far south as the Puglia region at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula and was felt strongly in the capital Rome.

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