A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck central and southern Italy Sunday morning, according to the United States Geological Survey. The quake struck around 7:40 a.m.
The first report of injured came at 10:43 a.m., when EMS officials in the town of Norcia tweeted that six wounded individuals had been recovered from the rubble.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.6 or 6.5 with an epicenter 82 miles northeast of Rome and 42 miles east of Perugia.
The quake was centered in a mountainous area straddling the central Italy regions of Umbria and Marche.
The region has experienced temblors the past week, which have left thousands of people homeless. That actually may have helped saves lives on Sunday, since many residents were still sleeping in cars or had been evacuated to shelters or hotels outside quake-prone areas.
But this morning’s earthquake sent many existing damaged buildings crumbling.
Cesare Spuri, the head of the civil protection authority in the March region, said there have been reports of buildings collapsing in several cities.
The town of Norcia was one the hardest-hit by Sunday’s earthquake, which was centered 3 miles north of the town. Norcia city assessor Giuseppina Perla told Italy’s ANSA news agency, “It’s as if the whole city fell down.”
The Monks of Norcia at the Monastery of San Benedetto — an international Benedictine community — tweeted a photo of the Basilica of St. Benedict, writing that the church was destroyed in the earthquake.
A letter posted on the Monastery of San Benedetto’s website signed by Father Benedict read, “Around 7:40 AM, a powerful earthquake struck close to Norcia.
The monks are all safe, but our hearts go immediately to those affected, and the priests of the monastery are searching for any who may need the Last Rites. The Basilica of St. Benedict, the historic church built atop the birthplace of St. Benedict, was flattened by this most recent quake.”
The monastery also tweeted, “People are trapped in the main square, as nearby buildings may collapse. Trucks are coming to clear a path to safety.”
Elsewhere in the country, a resident of Rome tweeted the video below of a light fixture swaying when the earthquake hit.