Thousands homeless after new quakes, over 200 aftershocks

One man died of heart attack, no reports of people under rubble

(ANSA) - Tolentino, October 27 - Thousands of people are unable to use their homes after two big earthquakes shook central Italy on Wednesday, two months after a devastating quake claimed almost 300 lives. "We have around 2,000 or 3,000 homeless people," Cesare Spuri, the head of the Civil Protection Department in the central Marche region, told ANSA on Thursday. A 73-year-old man died of a heart attack linked to the quakes and several people suffered minor injuries. There was significant damage in many towns but there are no reports so far of people being buried under rubble. The first 5.4-magnitude quake struck at 19:10 Italian time and was followed by an even bigger one, of magnitude 5.9, at 21:18. The fact that many people left their homes after the first big quake, and so were outside when the second struck, may have saved lives.
    Many of the people made homeless by the quakes had to sleep in cars in cold conditions and torrential rain.
    There have been at least 200 aftershocks, the National Institute of Geophysics (INGV) said Thursday.
    "There were 105 registered after 2:00 in the morning (on Thursday) alone," INGV seismologist Alessandro Amato told ANSA.
    "Overall, there were 30 aftershocks of magnitude 3.0 or higher".
    Four were above magnitude 4.0, all in the area of the Marche city of Macerata, including a 4.4-magnitude tremor near Castelsantangelo sul Nera.
    People made homeless by Wednesday's fresh earthquakes may be temporarily moved to coastal areas, the Civil Protection Department said on Thursday. "We are trying to find the ideal solution for the people, who cannot be hosted at tent camps, given the weather and the season," said Civil Protection Chief Fabrizio Curcio. "We are considering transferring the homeless to the coast".
    Curcio was speaking while inspecting the new quake zone with Vasco Errani, the commissioner for reconstruction of areas devastated by the August 24 earthquake.