NEWS » Earthquake in Northern Italy

Earthquake in Northern Italy


On Sunday the 20th of May a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck in the middle of the night, about 35 km (22miles) north of the city of Bologna. The quake - the worst to hit the country since the Aquila tremor, which killed 300 people in central Italy in 2009 - was felt in numerous towns and main cities in Northern Italy, including Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Mantova, Milano and Venezia.

The more affected areas were: in the province of Modena, Finale Emilia, San Felice sul Panaro and all the areas towards Ferrara. In the province of Ferrara, the area of Cento and Sant'Agostino; in the province of Bologna, Crevalcore e Pieve di Cento.

More than 100 aftershocks effected the Emilia-Romagna region on Sunday and continued into Monday. 4,000 residents were forced to sleep in cars, tents and temporary accommodations.

Seven people died. Four of the victims were working night shifts in factories which collapsed. Two people died of shock and one was hit by a falling beam.

The earthquake was the most damaging to the Italian cultural heritage since the two in 1997 that damaged the basilica of St Francis in Assisi. The last major quake to strike the area was in Ferrara in 1570. More recently a 5.4 quake was felt in Parma on the last January.

The damage to Italy’s cultural heritage is consistent. According to The Italian culture minister, Lorenzo Ornaghi, the damage is very serious and the restoration will cost tens of millions of Euros.

In Finale Emilia the cathedral, the town hall, three churches and a castle were all seriously damaged, and a clock tower built in 1213 collapsed.

In San Felice sul Panaro, three churches were ruined, only one of four towers at the town's castle was left standing but it might soon fall because of a large crack.

In Ferrara The Estense castle was slightly damaged.

In Poggio Renatico a clock tower collapsed.

The Cabinet of ministers has declared a 60 days state of emergency for Bologna, Modena, Ferrara and Mantova. The head of the Department of Civil Protection will have a fund of 50 million and maximum freedom of action. The affected municipalities are entitled to a relaxation of the internal stability pact and the deferment of the payment of the IMU (Imposta municipale unica) for homes and industrial plants which are considered unsafe.

Giulia Lombardo

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