3 earthquakes, 5.3 magnitude and greater, hit central Italy within an hour

Posted at 6:11 AM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 14:32:27-05

ROME — Three earthquakes hit central in the space of an hour Wednesday, with tremors felt in the capital.

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said it seems there were no fatalities from the three strong earthquakes that rocked the same area of central Italy that was devastated by quakes last year.

“Luckily it seems there were no deaths,” Gentiloni said.

The first quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 hit the region north of Amatrice at about 10:25 a.m. (0925 GMT), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A second quake with a magnitude of 5.7 hit the same area about 50 minutes later, and ten minutes later a third was measured at magnitude-5.3.

The mountainous Amatrice region was shaken by three quakes last year, killing nearly 300 people and causing significant damage to older buildings.

The region is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Rome.

Antonio Tajani, an Italian politician who is president of the European Parliament, said tremors were “felt as far as Rome (but it) appears there are no victims.”

Gentiloni said Wednesday was a “difficult day” for Italy. Central Italy has been buried under over a meter (3 feet) of snow in recent days, with some areas without electricity, complicating the arrival of emergency services.

Speaking in Berlin after a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Gentiloni said his thoughts were with those who were suffering through another round of temblors.