Residents escorted to retrieve belongings after quake

A general view shows an area of Norcia, central Italy, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. The third powerful earthquake to hit Italy in two months spared human life Sunday but struck at the nation's identity, destroying a Benedictine cathedral, a medieval tower and other beloved landmarks that had survived the earlier jolts across a mountainous region of small historic towns. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

NORCIA, Italy (AP) — Italian authorities say that more than 15,000 people have sought assistance from Italy’s Civil Protection agency and are being housed in hotels and shelters following Sunday’s quake and the one last week.

Civil protection officials said Monday that they expect that number to rise, as it doesn’t count the many people who slept in vehicles or made other arrangements and are likely to seek help.

In the town of Norcia, closest to the epicenter, firefighters were preparing to take people back to their homes early Monday to retrieve belongings.

The Sunday morning quake with a magnitude 6.6 caused no deaths or serious injuries, largely because most fragile city centers had already been closed due to previous damage and many homes have been vacated.

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