ITALY (NEWS1130) – At least 15 people are reported dead in a magnitude-5.8 earthquake that struck the same area of northern Italy stricken by another fatal tremor on May 20.

The United States Geological Survey says today’s quake, which struck at 9 a.m. local time, was centred 40 kilometres northwest of Bologna.

It hit the area where a 6.0-temblor killed seven people earlier this month, and just as citizens had begun to resume some semblance of normality.

News agency LaPresse said many people were buried under the rubble of collapsed homes and factories. Television footage on Sky News 24 showed evacuees from the May 21 quake peering out of shaking emergency tents in disbelief.

The earlier quake was described by Italian emergency officials as the worst to hit the region since the 1300s.

In addition to the deaths, it knocked down a clock tower and other centuries-old buildings and caused millions in losses to a region known for making Parmesan cheese. Its epicentre hit about 35 kilometres north of Bologna.