Tags: Italy | Quake | Kills | Least | People

Italy Quake Kills at Least 22 People

Friday, 01 November 2002 12:00 AM

An elementary school collapsed in the medieval village of San Giuliano di Puglia as a result of the quake.

More than 30 people were pulled alive from the ruins, the La Repubblica newspaper reported. ANSA said 3,000 people in the region fled damaged homes.

About 60 children under the age of 6 and their teachers were initially trapped under the rubble at the school, part of which is more than 200 years old.

Additionally, dozens of buildings and homes in the area are reported to have collapsed or been severely damaged. Phone lines in the area were down, and authorities closed several bridges thought to be at risk for structural damage as a result of the earthquake.

Authorities said that the earthquake measured 5.4 on the Richter scale and was centered just outside the regional capital, Campobasso, around 140 miles southeast of Rome.

The Italian National Earthquake Center in Rome said the earthquake was the strongest to hit Italy since a 5.8-magnitude quake hit just north of Rome in 1997. It is the strongest on record for the area around Campobasso.

"This is not an area especially known for earthquakes, but it surrounded by areas where earthquakes are more common," a spokesman for the center told United Press International.

"One problem with this situation is that the area is quite remote and access and infrastructure is somewhat limited."

The problem was further complicated by the fact that dozens of expert rescue workers from the Molise area were sent to Sicily to help residents in the wake of a series of smaller earthquakes and the eruption of Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano.

Those workers were being rushed back to Molise to help with rescue efforts there, news reports said.

According to TV reports, the tremor was felt as far away as Rome to the northwest, Naples to the west and Bari to the southeast. Experts said it was likely the area would suffer from additional aftershocks for as long as 24 hours after the initial earthquake.

Authorities gathered residents of the most vulnerable areas of San Giuliano di Puglia in a soccer field in the center of town, where they would presumably be safe in the event of a strong aftershock.

Tents were being set up there so that residents could pass the night safely.

"The shock was very strong ... I nearly fell off my chair," said one elderly resident of San Giuliano di Puglia quoted on the television news program TG5.

"Right away I knew something terrible happened ... (and) I ran outside and saw that the school had fallen. It was terrible."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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An elementary school collapsed in the medieval village of San Giuliano di Puglia as a result of the quake. More than 30 people were pulled alive from the ruins, the La Repubblica newspaper reported. ANSA said 3,000 people in the region fled damaged homes. About 60...
Italy,Quake,Kills,Least,People
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2002-00-01
Friday, 01 November 2002 12:00 AM
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