ROME (CNN) — At least eight people were killed in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in northern Italy on Tuesday, civil protection authorities said, predicting the number would rise.
The earthquake came nine days after a quake in the same region killed seven people.
“People are very scared. It’s been shaking nonstop for the past week,” said journalist Andrea Vogt, who was near the epicenter.
“We don’t know how many are still trapped,” she told CNN. “Telephone lines are overloaded. It’s difficult to get through to emergency personnel.”
The earthquakes in the last 10 days have been “a real shock” to locals, she said, adding that no one could remember so many quakes in such a short period of time.
“Factories were full. Many of the workers were working on repairs to the already damaged buildings,” said Vogt, a freelance journalist based in Bologna.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was in a meeting discussing last week’s earthquake with the head of the civil protection agency and the governor of the region when the new earthquake hit.
“The state will do all what needs to be done, in the quickest way, to assure the return to normal life to such a special and productive region of the country,” Monti said in a televised statement.
Tuesday’s earthquake was centered in the province of Modena, near Bologna. The towns of Mirandola and Cavezzo were closest to the epicenter, civil protection authorities said.
“Some buildings that were damaged already in last week’s earthquake were affected again today. San Felice sul Panaro and Mirandola registered most of the damage,” a spokeswoman said.
There have been at least 40 aftershocks since the Tuesday morning earthquake, the Italian geological service said, saying they were shallow and of a magnitude of 2 to 3.
Some train services have been suspended for safety reasons, and high-speed trains from Bologna to Milan and Florence, among others, are running at slower speeds, train operators said. There are no trains stuck on tracks, said Trenitalia, the Italian train system.
Northern Italy is the heartland of the country’s manufacturing industry.
“It’s going to have an economic impact as well as a human impact,” Vogt said of the earthquake.
CNN’s Laura Perez Maestro and Marilia Brochetto and journalist Livia Borghese contributed to this report.
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