Italy: rescue teams hampered by heavy snowfall

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Italy: rescue teams hampered by heavy snowfall

Heavy snowfall is hampering rescue operations in regions of central Italy affected by Wednesday’s earthquakes.

Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo were shaken by a wave of strong tremors.

The area is recovering from a series of severe earthquakes last year.


Montereale is one of the villages closest to the epicentre of Wednesday’s earthquakes.

The village was flattened by a tremor in 1703. It was heavily damaged in the L’Aquila quake of 2009.

Locals are also coping with unusually heavy snowfall.

‘‘We have had this problem since 2009”, Mayor Massimiliano Georgi told reporters. “Every time we get back on our feet , another one comes along. Unfortunately we have to live with this problem and we have to try to keep going.’‘

“There is very heavy snow. This is the problem. It is very cold. We cannot sleep at home tonight, because we are afraid (of the earthquake) but outside, in the car or in a tent, it is very cold and snowy,” said a resident.

Castiglione Messer Raimondo

A woman and her baby son have been pulled from the rubble. Both had hypothermia.

The fire service says a helicopter scrambled to take them to hospital got into difficulty and they had to be transported by road.


The US Geological Survey said the three strongest tremors all struck within the space of one hour.

They had magnitudes of 5.3, 5.7 and 5.6.

In total, there were 10 quakes over the magnitude of 4.0, clustered in a 10 kilometre radius around Amatrice,

The town was devastated by an earthquake last August.

Experts have warned the risk of another earthquake in the area is high.