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Magnitude 4.8 earthquake in Sicily causes damage, injuries
An earthquake measuring magnitude 4.8 hit the area north of Catania on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily early on Wednesday (December 26), causing some damage to buildings and about 30 minor injuries, officials said. It hit two days after Etna, Europe's highest and most active volcano, erupted, sending a huge column of ash into the sky and causing the temporary closure of Catania airport on Sicily's eastern coast. The earthquake hit at 3:19 a.m. (0219 GMT), prompting many people to run out of their homes and sleep in cars. A resident from Zafferana Etnea, Pietro D'Amico, has been awaken by the earthquake and escaped with his wife. He told Reuters that the earthquake destroyed his house, "as if it were made of papier-mâché" and that he and his family are "alive by a miracle." Paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene to treat the injured and to assess the damaged buildings. About 30 people suffered injuries, mostly from falling masonry as they fled from their homes, officials said. About 10 were taken to hospital by ambulances, the others were taken by friends and family members. None of the injuries were serious.