Three missing after quakes rock battered central Italy

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Several powerful earthquakes measuring in magnitudes of 4.5 to 5.7 have struck central Italy, a region already scarred by tremors from previous year, emergency officials said. Additionally, according to the Global Earthquake Activity Rate (GEAR) model, this earthquake should not be considered surprising.

Tremors were felt across the Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche regions. The epicentre of this quake was 5.3 - magnitude. The epicenters of the earthquakes were in the L'Aquila region, an area that struck by a magnitude 6.3 natural disaster in 2009.

There were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries as a result of the earthquakes.

As of now, no damage or causalities have been reported.

An initial 5.3-magnitude quake hit central Italy 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) west-northwest of Amatrice, a town devastated by powerful temblors a year ago, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

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"I want to start with a shared thought with Angela for the people in the areas hit by the serious earthquakes", Gentiloni said, according to a translation by Italy's ANSA news service.

Almost 300 people were killed when the mountainous Amatrice region was shaken by three quakes last summer, causing significant damage to older buildings.

Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said, "I don't know if we did something bad. I have no words". Additionally, because of this recent snowfall, which has blanketed much of Italy's mountainous regions, it is possible that the added snow weight, coupled with strong shaking could have brought down structures still standing in Amatrice.

Italy straddles Eurasian and African tectonic plates, making it vulnerable to quakes.

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