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Italian tourist island of Ischia hit by deadly quake

© Gaetano Di Meglio, AFP | Damage caused by an earthquake that struck the Italian tourist island of Ischia on August 21, 2017.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-08-22

An earthquake hit the tourist-packed Italian holiday island of Ischia on Monday night, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and leaving two young brothers trapped in the rubble.

Emergency crews found a baby boy called Pasquale alive in the wreckage of a collapsed building hours after the quake, and said they had located his seven and 11-year-old brothers stuck under a bed nearby.

They pulled out the seven-month-old infant early on Tuesday and pushed a tube through to get water to the older boys, said the fire service. The parents were both safe, said officials.

Residents and tourists on the island off the coast of Naples ran out onto the narrow streets from homes and hotels. Fearing aftershocks, many decided to leave the island early.

Television images showed about six buildings in the town of Casamicciola including a church had collapsed in the quake, which hit at 8:57 p.m. (1857 GMT).

The earthquake hit three days before the first anniversary of a major quake that killed nearly 300 people in central Italy, most of them in the town of Amatrice.

Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology put the magnitude of Monday's quake at 4.0, revising it up from an initial 3.6, but both the US Geological Survey and the European quake agency estimated the magnitude at 4.3.

Falling masonry

The director of the island's hospital said two women were killed and about 40 injured. One of victims was killed when she was hit by falling masonry from the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio, the Civil Protection Department in Rome said.

The church was rebuilt after it, like most of Casamicciola was destroyed by an earthquake that killed some 2,000 people in 1883.

Most of the damage was in the high part of the volcanic island. Hotels and residences on the coast did not appear to suffer serious damage but fire brigades were checking to see if they could still be used.

The island has a year-round population of about 63,000, which swells to more than 200,000 in summer, with many people from the mainland owning holiday homes.

Civil Protection Department head Angelo Borrelli said about 2,600 people could not re-enter their homes, pending checks.

Helicopters and a ferry boat brought in more rescue workers from the mainland.

Three extra ferries were provided during the night for about 1,000 residents and tourists who wanted to leave. As daylight broke, dozens of people went to the island's four ports, having decided to end their vacations early.

Many who were due to take ferries from Naples on the mainland to start their vacations cancelled their plans, local officials said.

Some civil protection squads were already on the island because of brushfires.

Ischia, a volcanic island about a one-hour ferry ride from Naples, is popular with German tourists. German chancellor Angela Merkel has stayed there often.

(REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2017-08-22

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