Italy earthquake: More tremors expected as Apennine fault system sets off domino effect
A general view of Norcia following an earthquake in central Italy, October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casill

Thousands of people in central Italy were forced to spend the night in temporary shelters outside their homes after a series of earthquakes rocked the region.

On Sunday, a 6.6-magnitude quake struck in Norcia, close to where close to where around 300 died in a quake in August. Sunday's quake was powerful than August quake, triggering panic among the residents, who fled the region.

The crisis in central Italy is likely to be a prolonged one as seismologist say the region is likely to witness more quakes in the days to come until a domino effect along the central Apennine fault system dies down. The region has already reported many powerful aftershocks.

Towns and villages already battered by the 6.2 earthquake in August were damaged further, local authorities told news agencies.

The historic city of Norcia was shaken in the quake, leading to the collapse of the ancient Basilica of St. Benedict, which dates to the 13th century. "This is a tragedy. It is a coup de grace. The basilica is devastated," Bishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia told Reuters.

"Everyone has been suspended in a never-ending state of fear and stress. They are at their wits' end," the bishop added.

Italian Civil Protection Unit said several houses were destroyed in Umbria and Marche, but casualties were not immediately reported.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said cost will not come in the way of massive reconstruction required in the region. "We will rebuild everything, the houses, the churches and the businesses," he told reporters .. Everything that needs to be done to rebuild these areas will be done," Renzi said.