Central Italy, especially the regions of Marche and Umbria, was hit by two earthquakes and more than 200 aftershocks last night, certainly bringing back awful memories of the disaster that hit the same areas in August. Unlike two months ago, luckily no fatalities have been reported so far, except for a man who died of a heart attack due to the fear and shock. Yet, Marche and Umbria, still recovering from this past summer's earthquakes that killed 300 people, are struggling to accept the reality of this new, violent blow.
The earthquakes hit the area on Wednesday night at 7:10 and at 9:18, measuring 5.4 and 6.1 on the Richter scale, and could be felt in all of central Italy, especially in the Rome area, but also as south as Naples and as north as Bologna. The epicenter of the quakes was near the town of Visso, in the Marche. Among other cities of the region that have been badly hit there are Castelsantangelo sul Nera, Camerino, Ussita and, again, Amatrice. The church of Madonna delle Grazie in Norcia has been completely destroyed.
As many as 2000 to 3000 inhabitants of the area are now homeless, and shelters and emergency centers have been set up in the towns and villages in the region. Damages to buildings, homes and churches still have to be assessed.