Fifteen dead in Italy's latest earthquake


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The Independent Online

At least 15 people are reported dead in a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the same area of northern Italy stricken by another fatal tremor on 20 May.

Premier Mario Monti pledged in a hastily called news conference two hours after the quake that the government will do ''all that it must and all that is possible in the briefest period to guarantee the resumption of normal life in this area so special, so important and so productive for Italy."

The United States Geological Survey said the quake today, which struck at 9:00 am. local time (0700 GMT), was centered 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the city of Bologna. It hit the area where a 6.0 temblor killed seven people earlier this month — and just as citizens had begun to resume some semblance of normality.

The news agency ANSA reported that nine people had died, while news agency LaPresse said others were buried under the rubble of collapsed homes and factories.

Monti said at the time of the quake he was meeting with emergency officials in Rome to discuss dealing with the impact of the earlier quake.

Television footage on Sky News 24 on today showed evacuees from the 21 May quake peering out of shaking emergency tents in disbelief.

The earlier quake was described by Italian emergency officials as the worst to hit the region since the 1300s. In addition to the deaths, it knocked down a clock tower and other centuries-old buildings and caused millions in losses to a region known for making Parmesan cheese. Its epicenter hit about 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Bologna.