By Peter Mayer –
ROME — Italian rescue workers said Tuesday that the death toll from a magnitude-5.8 earthquake in a northern region that was hit by a powerful tremor nine days ago had risen to 13.
“At least 13 people are believed to have died,” Demetrio Egidi of the rescue services Egidi told television news channel Sky TG24. He said that more than 100 people were injured in an area close to Mirandola, near the city of Modena, when the tremor struck.
It was followed by several aftershocks, at least two of which topped magnitude-5, according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology.
The victims included workers in factories that collapsed and a parish priest.
In some of the worst-hit areas, several people were believed to be trapped under rubble.
“I invite all citizens to have faith. The commitment of the state aims to guarantee that everything will take place in the best and most efficient way,” Prime Minister Mario Monti said in Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI felt “great pain,” for the deaths and injuries caused by tremors, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
The Italian football federation announced that it had cancelled a friendly match between Italy and Luxembourg in Reggio Emilia city of Parma. Ferrari, whose Maranello factory is located in the region, said it had suspended all work activities following the earthquake.
Tuesday’s main aftershock was “part of a sequence” that has hit the region since the magnitude-6.0 earthquake that hit Emilia Romagna on May 20, according to Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology.
It was felt across large parts of northern and central Italy, including in Milan and Florence.
Scores of people fled offices and schools in Bologna, Modena and other cities in the Emilia Romagna region.
In San Felice sul Panaro, television footage from a tent camp of survivors of the May 20 quake showed images of frightened people running out of their tents as the ground shook and a loud noise was heard.
Several buildings which were already damaged in the original 6.0 quake collapsed, according to the ANSA news agency.
Seven people were killed and about 50 injured in the May 20 earthquake. The number of homeless is estimated at 5,260.