Earthquake strucks southern Italy, one dead

2012-10-26 11:02:12 GMT2012-10-26 19:02:12(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ROME, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- A 5.0-magnitude earthquake hit southern Italy in the early hours of Friday, killing one elderly person and damaging several buildings.

The quake struck at 1:05 a.m. Friday (2305 GMT Thursday) with its epicenter at a depth of 6.3 kilometers in the Pollino area, between the regions of Calabria and Basilicata in southern Italy, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

An 84-year-old man died of a heart attack when the earthquake hit his village of Scalea in the epicenter area, local media reported.

Residents rushed into the streets fearing buildings collapses. A local hospital and two old people's homes were evacuated, while local schools remained closed.

The center of the Mormanno town was especially hard-hit, and local officials said it would take some hours to evaluate the scale of the damage.

"There was a lot of panic, but fortunately nobody was injured," Guglielmo Armentano, the mayor of Mormanno, was quoted as saying by ANSA news agency.

The strong quake was followed by some 100 aftershocks in the same area, INGV said.

Rescue teams have provided locals with relief materials including water and tents.

The quake came a few days after a controversial court case in which seven government-appointed experts were sentenced to jail for giving insufficient warning of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which killed 308 people and injured over 1,500 others in the central city of L'Aquila in 2009.

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