• Thursday, 13 June 2024

Concern among residents as 4.4-magnitude earthquake hits near Naples

Concern among residents as 4.4-magnitude earthquake hits near Naples

Rome, 21 May 2024 (dpa/MIA) - The area surrounding the southern Italian city of Naples was rattled by an earthquake on Monday evening, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said, putting the magnitude at 4.4.

The earthquake hit around 8:10 pm (1810 GMT). As has often been the case in recent months, the epicentre was said to be in the Phlegraean Fields, a highly volcanic area just a few kilometres from the centre of the southern city.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude at 4.2.

According to media reports, it was not only clearly felt in the towns near the Phlegraean Fields, but also in Naples, including the harbour area. There were initially no reports of casualties or major damage.

The fire brigade said residents reported cracks in some houses and pieces falling off building façades. Emergency services were on site to assess the situation.

Some frightened residents ran into the streets as some houses, especially near the epicentre, were literally shaken to the core, the newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno reported. The short but violent earthquake was preceded by weaker tremors.

The INGV registered several other weaker earth tremors in the hours that followed. At 9:45 pm, the institute recorded a 3.9-magnitude quake followed by a 3.6-magnitude one at 11 pm. In total some 150 tremors hit the area in under five hours starting at 7:50 pm on Monday.

Some residents of villages around the Phlegraean Fields refused to return to their homes. According to the ANSA news agency, tents were set up for the night in four areas of Pozzuoli, the main city of the Phlegrean Peninsula.

The Phlegraean Fields have been hit by many small earthquakes for some time. Mostly these are small and barely noticeable tremors that weaken the earth's crust in the area. Researchers have repeatedly warned of this phenomenon. For 11 years, the area has been on yellow alert, which calls for caution.