UK & World News
Italy Quake Destroys £200m Worth Of Cheese
An earthquake in northern Italy has destroyed more than 300,000 wheels of cheese worth an estimated 250 million euros (£200m).
The magnitude-6.0 earthquake killed at least six people, injured dozens and damaged historic buildings including a famed medieval castle early on Sunday, waking terrified citizens and sending thousands running into the streets.
The tremor has also devastated the region's cheese industry, destroying tonnes of Parmesan and Grana Padano.
"The earthquake was very strong and heavily damaged the structures of many warehouses as well as thousands of tonnes [of the two cheeses]", said Stefano Berni, head of a consortium that protects the Grana Padano designation.
"It's a very heavy loss, but there have been no casualties, which is a great relief at this worrying time," he told the ANSA news agency.
The initial estimate of 250 million euros is "very conservative", Mr Berni said, adding that he hoped no further tremors would "further aggravate the state of the already highly damaged and fragile structures".
A wheel of the cheese can weigh up to 40kgs (90lbs), meaning up to thousands of tonnes of the product was destroyed.
The epicentre of the quake, Italy's strongest in three years, was near Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po valley.
A series of strong aftershocks hit the area, two of which had a magnitude of 5.1.