Accessibility links

Second Strong Quake Rattles Italy

Another earthquake has struck the tiny Italian village of San Giuliano di Puglia, where at least 28 people are dead after an earthquake Thursday. Three people were injured by the latest tremor.

Registering 5.1 on the Richter Scale, the quake shook the already precariously weak buildings of San Giuliano di Puglia and sent people running into the streets. It also forced emergency crews to halt recovery efforts and relatives of the victims of Thursday's quake had to flee a make-shift morgue where they had gone to identify the dead.

This latest quake was nearly as strong as Thursday's, which reduced to rubble a primary school were 56 students were attending classes. Officials say most of the victims were sitting at their desks as the roof caved in on them. Nearly all those killed by the quake have been children, though two women who lived near the school were killed when their homes collapsed.

After the second quake, Italian authorities ordered the evacuation of San Giuliano di Puglia and relief organizations have begun to set up operations in the area.

Dr. Ghebre, the deputy commissioner of the Italian Red Cross, is coordinating relief efforts. He said destruction is widespread and many of the people are going to need basics such as food, water and electricity. "As you know, not only the school but many other buildings have been damaged," he said. "We are estimating from 1,000-3,000 people to be out of their houses. So we have moved the field [of relief operations] to host them, about 10 kilometers from San Guiliano, a place called Ranestro."

Luca Malagnini, a researcher at Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology in Rome, said the series of earthquakes have come as a surprise because fault lines in the area have been dormant for many years. He warned that other quakes and aftershocks could be on the way. "When you have a large earthquake, you increase the probability that you'll have another one of a significant size at close distance," he explained.

Mr. Malagnini said scientists are finding it hard to predict the possibly of future quakes because there is little historical information on the area.