An earthquake struck Sicily’s eastern coast before dawn today, killing at least 13 people, collapsing buildings and sending panicked residents into the streets, officials said.
The quake registered a magnitude 4.7, the Ministry of Civil Protection reported. The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., measured it at magnitude 5.1.
On the other side of the world, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook a wide area of northeastern Taiwan today, causing landslides and killing two construction workers who were knocked off buildings where they were working, police said.
Thousands of people were driven from their homes by the quake in Sicily, and many spent the rest of the night in their cars for fear of further shocks.
Eleven bodies were pulled from the rubble in the town of Carlentini, a town of 10,000 between Catania and Syracuse that was hit hardest by the quake, the ministry said. The ministry said two other people died of heart attacks after the quake struck.
The Italian news agency ANSA said two of the bodies recovered were 18-month-old toddlers.
At least 200 people were injured, the Italian news agency AGI said.
“There was a huge roar all of a sudden. Everything shook,” said Sebastiano Valvo, an employee at the Syracuse prefect’s office, describing the quake.
Rescue crews were digging people out of collapsed buildings in a driving rain and making inspections in towns hit hardest by the quake.
The quake’s epicenter was in the Gulf of Noto, about 30 miles southeast of Syracuse, said the National Institute of Geophysics.
The Ministry of Civil Protection said 1,300 people were left homeless in Carlentini. Five people there were seriously injured, the ministry said.
The quake caused at least $400 million in damage, according to the Syracuse prefect’s office.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said the 11:01 a.m. quake was centered on the coast about six miles south of Hualien.
Police there said one construction worker died after falling from the second story of the building and that a laborer shaken off a scaffold died of head injuries.