Thousands Homeless After Powerful Quake in Italy

L'AQUILA, Italy (AP) - Tens of thousands of people are homeless, 1,500 injured and at least 90 dead after a powerful earthquake struck the mountains of central Italy early this morning.

The tremor flattened entire blocks of buildings in towns across the quake-prone region. The U.S. Geological Survey has given it a magnitude of 6.3, though Italian authorities put it at 5.8. More than a dozen aftershocks have followed.

The capital of the Abruzzo region, about 70 miles northeast of Rome, was near the epicenter. Ambulances screamed through the medieval city L'Aquila as firefighters with dogs searched for people trapped in fallen buildings.

Half a dozen university students are believed trapped inside the ruins of a dormitory. One student describes slipping through a hole in the stairs to escape as water gushed from broken pipes and the walls fell, blocking exits.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi has declared a state of emergency and canceled a visit to Russia to deal with the crisis.