At least 150 people died and thousands were left homeless when an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 shook central Italy early Monday morning, seriously damaging buildings in the mountainous Abruzzo Region east of Rome.
Reuters quoted Agostino Miozzio, an Italian Civil Protection official, as putting the death count at 16, with thousands left homeless. Four children died after being taken to a hospital after their house collapsed.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of Rome at about 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.
The Civil Protection Department was assessing the damage.
The quake was felt in much of central Italy, including Rome. People were woken by the quake and ran into the streets.
The quake was the latest in a series of jolts that struck the area over the past two days, the AP reports.
Italy lies to the north of a zone where the African and Eurasian plates meet. These tectonic plates are always rubbing against each other, sometimes causing earthquakes, Bloomberg reports.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake near Foggia in 2002, to the southeast of the epicenter of today’s quake, left 29 people dead, according to the USGS.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko had a telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan