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Italian town faces explosion risk after earthquake

21 May 2012

The Magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Northern Italy on May 20 killed at least seven and has left thousands homeless. The epicentre of the earthquake was north of Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po valley and a state of emergency has been declared in the affected area, which is still being shaken by aftershocks up to Magnitude 5.1 on the Richter scale.

The latest eathquake in Italy killed at least seven and injured dozens more
The latest eathquake in Italy killed at least seven and injured dozens more

The quake caused the collapse of a number of buildings in Sant'Agostino di Ferrara, and Reuters reported that the town's streets were strewn with rubble and the stench of gas from broken pipes, raising fears of explosions.

Emergency service chief Franco Gabrielli said the death toll included five people killed directly by the quake and another who suffered a heart attack because of it. Officials said up to 3,000 people would not be able to return to their homes for the time being.

Two of the dead were workers at a ceramics factory in Sant'Agostino, which collapsed leaving 
a pile of rubble, another at the town’s ironworks and a fourth at a polystyrene factory in nearby Bondeno.

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