Thousands of people in central Italy were left homeless after a massive earthquake rocked the region Sunday morning, injuring dozens.
Italian authorities said Monday they were looking after more than 15,000 people who were forced to leave their homes as a result of the country’s strongest quake in decades.
The 6.6 magnitude quake was the fourth one to strike the area in three months. The earthquake struck close to the area where almost 300 people were killed by a quake in August.
The third powerful quake in just over two months, destroyed thousands of homes or left them structurally unsafe and emptied several villages and small towns across the country’s central mountainous regions.
Most residents of the destroyed villages and towns have sought refuge with family and friends as they await notification allowing them to return to their homes.
About 4,000 people from Norcia, a town close to the epicentre of Sunday's earthquake, have been sent to hotels on the Adriatic coast with a further 500 being taken by bus to the inland Lake Trasimeno.
Some residents of the town decided to stay in their homes.
More than 10,000 people are being put up in converted sports halls and other temporary facilities, including tents, across Umbria and the neighbouring Marche area, the protection agency said.
"Everything here will have to be rebuilt. There is nothing really solid left in the centre," evacuated Norcia resident Antonella Ridolfi said.
"We have always bounced back after other earthquakes but we've never had to deal with one as strong as this."
— Pierfrancesco Loreto (@pierloreto) 30 Ekim 2016
The medieval basilica of St Benedict in Norcia was destroyed in the quake, along with many other historic buildings and structures.
Many buildings considered to be vulnerable to seismic activity were evacuated in central Italy last week as a precaution, following strong aftershocks from the quake in August.
— Silvia Gharaba (@SilviaGharaba) 30 Ekim 2016
Three people were dug out of the rubble alive in the town of Tolentino, officials said.
The quake also caused great damage to the towns of Castelsantangelo and Preci, which were mostly abandoned after last week’s earthquakes, of magnitude 5.5 and 6.1.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) 30 Ekim 2016
The mayors of the villages of Ussita and Arquata reported that many buildings had also collapsed there.
The latest earthquakes’ tremors were felt in the cities of Rome, where the Metro system was shut down, and Venice.