Milan, May 20 (Xinhua-ANI): At least five people died and tens of others were injured in a 5.9-magnitude earthquake that hit northern Italy in the early hours of Sunday morning, local media reported.
Three night workers, one of which was a young foreign migrant, died in the collapse of two factories near the city of Ferrara in central Emilia Romagna region.
An over 100-year-old lady was killed in her bed and another 37-year-old woman died by heart attack during the quake, according to local media. A sixth worker of a local foundry whose roof had collapsed was missing.
Tens of people, at least 50 according to Rai state television, were injured, while thousands of panicked Italians rushed into the streets in various places of the central region, one of the most industrialized in the country.
The most hit town was Sant'Agostino, whose municipality was demolished and historic buildings were strongly damaged and evacuated.
One 5-year-old girl was rescued after remaining trapped in debris following the quake, a police officer, Giampiero Natoli, told Rai.
Local authorities ordered residents not to get close to historic buildings, while the eldest and seriously sick people were rushed to nearby hospitals for precaution.
According to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the earthquake had its epicenter between the cities of Ferrara and Modena at a depth of a 6.3 km. In several Italian Regions including Toscana, Piedmont, Lombardy the shock was felt without causing great loss.
A series of aftershocks hit the area and were also felt in many northern cities including Milan, Turin and Venice.
I do not want to go back home anymore. I heard a strong bang and was terribly afraid, said a panicked young girl who rushed into Bologna's Maggiore Square along with other citizens, according to ANSA news agency.
A resident in Modena told local newspaper Corriere della Sera that she saw some objects falling down in her house because of the earthquake, so she rushed out and hid in her car, then the aftershock also rocked her car.
The artistic damage was consistent, as many monumental historical buildings were hit, said Paola Gazzola, civil protection councillor of Emilia Romagna region.
In 2009, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude killed nearly 300 people in the Italian central city of L'Aquila. (Xinhua-ANI)