Double-quake rocks central Italy
Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes after two tremors struck central Italy last night.

The first 5.5 magnitude quake hit at 7.10pm and could be felt across central Italy and as far south as Caserta. A second 6.1 quake struck two hours later with its epicentre near the small town of Visso in the province of Macerata. The tremors are believed to be aftershocks of the major earthquake on 24 August which killed almost 300 people in and around the Lazio region of central Italy.

The Italian Red Cross sent a fleet of nine ambulances to the worst-hit areas last night, along with teams of volunteers specializing in psychological support as many people are suffering from trauma.

President of the Red Cross branch in Visso, Giovanni Casoni, said: “We spent the night trying to reassure people as much as we could that they were safe, especially the elderly. We could see the fear in people’s eyes -  fear of what they had just experienced and of what will happen next.

“Unfortunately, these are scenes that we are now familiar with.”

The Red Cross’s Visso branch was turned into a temporary shelter overnight for 200 people who were unable to return home following the quake which also downed power lines and blocked roads.

Casoni said: “The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined but we’re working closely with the Italian authorities to make sure people get the help they need.”

The Red Cross’s mobile kitchen, which can produce up to 1,000 meals per day, is ready to be set up to provide food for people who have been evacuated and volunteers from Red Cross branches in Umbria, Marche, Lazio and Abruzzo are on standby to provide extra support.

By Nichola Jones, IFRC