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Strong twin earthquakes rock central Italy

The quakes come after a major quake rocked the Italian mountain town of Amatrice in August, killing more than 300 people. Photograph: (Others)

WION Rome, Italy Oct 26, 2016, 08.03 PM (IST)

Two strong earthquakes jolted central Italy on Wednesday, whose tremors were felt as far as the capital Rome.

The first magnitude 5.4 quake hit the village of Visso in Macerata area, the US Geological Survey said. The epicentre was seven kilometres south-southwest of the village in the central region of Marche. 

The second tremor felt within a few hours of the first, registered 6.1 on the Richter scale. It struck 68 kilometres east of the central Italian city of Perugia, in the same region that was struck by a devastating quake in August that killed more than 300.

Dozens of people have been reported injured in the latest quakes. The mayor of one of the towns said that several buildings had collapsed as authorities rushed to assess the full extent of the damage.

It was felt in the towns of Pescara, Ancone and L'Aquila with many people rushing out of their homes in panic.

"Many houses have collapsed. Our town is finished," Marco Rinaldi, mayor of Ussita, told Sky Italy television by telephone. "The second quake was a long, terrible one," he said.

"I've felt a lot of earthquakes but that was the strongest I've ever felt. Fortunately, everyone had already left their homes after the first quake so I don't think anyone was hurt."

The tremors were also felt in the capital Rome, sending people running out into the streets. The second was felt as far away as Venice in the far north, and Naples south of the capital.

Schools in and around the affected region will not open Thursday to allow officials to carry out safety checks.

In August, a 6.0-6.2 magnitude quake had flattened the Italian mountain town of Amatrice, killing nearly 300 people and injuring hundreds. 

The disaster caused an estimated four billion euros ($4.5 billion) of damage, with 1,400 people still living in temporary accommodation.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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