On Tuesday morning, a devastating earthquake hit northern Italy for the second time in less than 10 days. The 5.8-magnitude quake in the province of Modena killed at least 12 people and destroyed a number of historic buildings and churches in towns like Cavezzo and San Felice sul Panaro, which had been weakened by the May 20 earthquake in nearby Emilia-Romagna.
Similar to procedures undertaken after the earlier quake, rescue teams will construct makeshift shelters and tents for displaced people and those who are too afraid to return home. However, the region's emergency resources are reportedly low because of the last disaster.
The state will do all what needs to be done, in the quickest way, to assure the return to normal life to such a special and productive region of the country, Prime Minister Mario Monti stated.
Aftershocks have been continuous in northern Italy since the 6.0-magnitude quake nine days ago, and Italy's Institute of Geology has already measured 5.6-, 5.3- and 5.1-magnitude tremors on Tuesday afternoon, CNN reported. The aftershocks have hampered rescue workers' progress. Meanwhile, schools and public buildings have been evacuated as far south as Florence, and train service around Bologna and other cities near Modena has been suspended.
The Guardian newspaper of Britain reported that some local citizens are wondering if reports of gas drilling in the vicinity may have been partially responsible for the quakes.
The region was not considered seismically risky until geologic studies were carried out in 2004, The Guardian added.