At least 28 people were injured and 600 people displaced after a 4.8-magnitude earthquake hit near Mount Etna (Catania province) in eastern Sicily at 03:19 (local time) on Wednesday, December 26. Several buildings collapsed, and further material and infrastructural damages have been reported, prompting associated road closures and some train service disruptions. However, Catania-Fontanarossa International Airport (CTA) remained operational as of December 26. Local authorities are expected to declare a state of calamity in Catania province on Thursday, with a state of emergency declaration expected to come from Rome. Further tremors remain possible.
According to officials, Wednesday's quake was one of around 1000 tremors that were recorded after Mount Etna began erupting on Monday, December 24. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is the highest elevation volcano in mainland Europe. It is commonly active multiple times per year, but last saw a major eruption in 1992. Local residents reported several earthquakes across the region, including in Catania, before the December 24 eruption.
Individuals present in the affected region are advised to be prepared for further tremors and to adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities or their home government. In the event of an earthquake, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), to move away from windows, and to not attempt to leave the building unless there is an immediate danger. If outdoors, move away from tall buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.
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