Deadly Quake Hits Northern Italy

ROME – Less than ten days after an earthquake devastated the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy, a 5.8-magnitude tremor shook the area Tuesday morning, killing at least eight people, Italian news agencies reported. The new quake destroyed more buildings and once again tested the fortitude of an already unsettled population.

In Mirandola, identified as the epicenter of the earthquake, rescue workers searched the ruins of a warehouse that collapsed looking for a missing worker, the news agency ANSA reported. Though many factories were still closed after the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that hit the region on May 20, many businesses were starting to reorganize so that they could reopen or start production again.

Early news reports set an initial death toll at eight, though there were fears that it could grow. At least 7,000 people from the area had been forced to abandon their homes after the first quake and were living in makeshift dormitories in schools and in tent camps. Thousands of others were still sleeping in their cars, because aftershocks had continued all week.

When the earthquake took place at 9:03 AM on Tuesday morning, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was in Rome in a meeting with Vasco Errani, the president of the Emilia Romagna region, and other officials, to discuss reconstruction efforts.

In a televised statement Mr. Monti said that the government pledged to immediately cope with the aftermath of the new earthquake. “The state will do everything it can as quickly as it can to guarantee the return to normal life in this very special area, so productive for Italy,” Mr. Monti said. “We want to return to a normal life and to a recovery of businesses.”

Mr. Errani said that the priority would be to ensure the safety of citizens in the area, a task that had already begun, and he promised that the next phase would focus on reconstruction. “We acknowledge that there has been damage to companies and citizens, and we pledge to initiative a course to recovery,” he said.

Some towns that had survived the May 20 earthquake relatively unscathed were struck by the new tremor. One person died in the town of Concordia and there were dozens injured, mayor Carlo Marchini told Sky News, and the situation in general in the historic center of the town was “very serious,” he said.

The cathedral in Carpi collapsed, killing the parish priest, the news agency ANSA reported.

The earthquake was felt throughout northern Italy and buildings were evacuated in Genoa and in Pisa. After earlier slowdowns, high speed trains were returning to normal, a spokesman for the national railway system said, but some local lines were still interrupted.

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