NORCIA, Italy (AP) — Dozens of minor earthquakes continued to shake central Italy on Tuesday, haunting a region where thousands of people were left homeless and frightened by a massive weekend tremor that razed centuries’-old towns.
As the country observed the public and religious holiday of All Saints’ Day, tremors were coming at a rate of several per hour along the mountainous region 150 kilometers (95 miles) north of Rome, the national geological institute said Tuesday.
A relatively strong 4.7 magnitude quake hit around 0800 GMT on Tuesday. There were no reports of major new damage, but it was felt as far as Rome.
Civil protection officials say the number of people needing housing has risen by 15,000 since last week, a figure that does not include the 2,000 who remained displaced from a first deadly quake in August, which left 300 dead.
They estimate that a total of about 100,000 people have been affected in some way by Sunday’s quake, whether through damage to property or frightened out of their homes. Sunday’s quake was a magnitude 6.6, the strongest to hit Italy in 36 years.
While thousands have been moved to live in empty hotels on the coastal regions, out of harm’s way, a growing number of residents of quake-stricken communities are insisting on staying put. Some sleep in cars, others argue they have businesses to tend to, not infrequently involving livestock, or think that if their homes are still standing they remain the safest place to be.
The latest tremors came as children on Monday night dressed up as the dead for Halloween, an imported tradition that is increasingly celebrated here, and roamed the streets of cities across the country.
Schools in Rome were closed on Monday for precautionary checks, which the mayor hopes to wrap up in time for them to reopen on Wednesday, after the holiday.
Wednesday is All Souls’ Day, when Italian families traditionally visit cemeteries to remember relatives. Cemeteries were heavily damaged in the stricken mountain villages, with images showing coffins spilling out of the built structures that are typical in Italy.
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